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Future thinking: the role of marketing in healthcare

Sidney Anderson (Department of Marketing, Texas State University San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Steven W. Rayburn (Texas State University San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Jeremy J. Sierra (Department of Marketing, Texas State University San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 1 October 2018

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to discuss how, using a futures studies perspective, marketing is uniquely positioned to address future challenges facing health-care service systems.


The futures studies perspective involves predicting probable, preferable and possible futures. Using digital and face-to-face data collection methods, health-care professionals, academics and patients were asked about their perspectives and expectations of health care’s future. Using grounded theory, responses were analyzed to a point of thematic saturation to expose the immediate probable future and a preferred future of health care.


Patients expressed a desire to participate in health-care delivery, impacting caregivers’ roles. Thus, co-creation of value in this context is contingent on the relationship among stakeholders: patients, patients’ families, caregivers and health-care organizations. Concordance, a type of value co-creation, is an effective way for physicians and patients to ameliorate health outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

Although a more diverse sample would be ideal, insight from health-care professionals, academics and patients across global regions was obtained.

Practical implications

To achieve a preferred future in health care, practitioners should implement a three-pronged approach, which includes health promotion and prevention, appropriate use of technology in health care and concordance.


Using patients, health-care professionals and academics, this research broadens the concept of value co-creation in health care. Additionally, paths (i.e. promotion and prevention, technology use and concordance) to a preferred health-care future are uncovered.



Anderson, S., Rayburn, S.W. and Sierra, J.J. (2019), "Future thinking: the role of marketing in healthcare", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 No. 8, pp. 1521-1545.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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