The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has generated unprecedented pressure on national and regional healthcare systems. Enabling innovative processes and solutions in the un’auhealth sector has long been a primary issue, and it is becoming even more paramount during the Covid-19 crisis. Drivers and obstacles of innovative processes need to be further analyzed by both scholars and practitioners, and also the potential outcomes deriving from this approach. This article aims at describing the evolution of innovation models in the health sector, identifying the centrality of co-production paradigm in which citizens and patients collaborate in dealing with the challenges posed by the current crisis. Even though patients are one of the main stakeholders for the health system, they have normally been perceived as passive actors within the provision of health services, underestimating their knowledge and experience. In this perspective, the paradigm of patient innovation can be considered as a specific type of user innovation, referring to the role of patients, their families, and healthcare professionals themselves, in developing innovative processes and solutions. In the context of the current crisis, several collaborative approaches based on digital platforms and ecosystems are already underway. In the final part of the article, the main ongoing initiatives will be analyzed, also taking into account the interactions between health authorities and citizens which will be needed in transitioning out of the lockdown phase.
Keywords: Co-production, co-creation, user innovation, healthcare, patient engagement