Business Model Innovation for Ambulance Systems in Developing Economies: 'Coordination and Competition'
83 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2022 Last revised: 17 Apr 2023
Date Written: March 4, 2022
Several low- and middle-income countries' (LMICs) emergency transportation systems (ETSs) do not have a centralized emergency number. Instead, they have many independent ambulance providers, each with a small number of ambulances. As a result, ETSs in these contexts lack coordination and ambulances. Using a free-entry equilibrium model, we show that in such decentralized systems, the probability that any given call can be served by at least one ambulance, i.e. its coverage, is at most 71.54%, regardless of the ETS's profitability. We examine three business models that can address the ETS's lack of coordination and ambulances: (i) a competitor-only business model, where an entrepreneur enters the ETS and acquires ambulances to compete with existing providers; (ii) a platform business model, where an entrepreneur coordinates existing providers; and (iii) an innovative platform-plus business model, where an entrepreneur combines (i) and (ii): setting-up a platform and acquiring platform-owned ambulances. We also examine a government-run platform that takes no commissions from providers. Using a game-theoretic approach, we find that it is optimal for all platform models to incentivize all providers to join. However, only the government-run platform may incentivize providers to acquire additional ambulances. Furthermore, a government-run platform offers higher coverage than a platform-plus only when the platform's power to coordinate ambulance providers is moderate. Our results can help entrepreneurs and policymakers in LMICs navigate various trade-offs in improving their countries' ETS.
Keywords: Platforms, Development Operations, Healthcare, Innovative Business Models, Emergency Transportation Systems, Game Theory
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation