Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 37 Number 4 2020 pp. 1155-1183

The Relative Role of Digital Complementary Assets and Regulation in Discontinuous Telemedicine Innovation in European Hospitals

Steinhauser, Stefanie, Doblinger, Claudia, and Hüsig, Stefan


Telemedicine innovation is important for accelerating the digital transformation of the health care sector. However, telemedicine is a discontinuous digital innovation, and incumbent health care organizations are lagging in its adoption. We combine research on IT innovation adoption and discontinuous innovation to study the relative role of two drivers of discontinuous innovation adoption: digital complementary assets and the regulatory environment. Our findings from 1,753 acute care hospitals across 30 European countries suggest that digital complementary assets have a stronger effect on telemedicine innovation adoption than the regulatory framework. In addition, we observe application- and business model-specific differences. Overall, our findings add the role of organizational versus regulatory drivers of discontinuous innovation adoption to information systems research, emphasize the importance of digital complementary assets for the adoption of discontinuous innovation by incumbent organizations, and provide new insights into how the diffusion of telemedicine innovation can be accelerated.

Key words and phrases: Digital complementary assets, regulation, digital transformation, digital innovations, discontinuous innovations, health care, innovation adoption, telemedicine