Look around you. When was the last time you recognize something innovative in healthcare?
The Harvard Business Review has an entire section of posts looking at innovation in healthcare.
There is even a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).
According to West et al. Innovation can be defined as:
“Innovation can be defined as “the intentional introduction and application within a role, group, or organisation, of ideas, processes, products or procedures, new to the relevant unit of adoption, designed to significantly benefit the individual, the group, or wider society”.
The problem with innovation in healthcare is often not coming up with the innovation but rather figuring out a way to adopt and maintain the innovation. This is in part because innovation in and of itself is something different than what is currently seen. Innovation often disrupts the status quo (often a good thing in healthcare), but requires a shift in how organizations manages the new service (or innovation). To this end, innovations often are driven by grant dollars leading the innovation to cease once the grant dollars run out. This is often due to the failure of a system or a state to change policies supporting the innovation.
This brings us full circle to the ongoing need for disruption in healthcare. While we have Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) in healthcare (a very good thing), why don’t we have something like Continuous Disruptive Innovation (CDI)? There are likely many reasons for this. Clay Christensen points out why we need disruption in healthcare:
“Make no mistake: the U.S. health care industry is in crisis. Prestigious teaching hospitals lose millions of dollars every year. Health care delivery is convoluted, expensive, and often deeply dissatisfying to consumers. Managed care, which evolved to address some of these problems, seems increasingly to contribute to them—and some of the best managed-care agencies are on the brink of insolvency. We believe that a whole host of disruptive innovations, small and large, could end the crisis—but only if the entrenched powers get out of the way and let market forces play out. If the natural process of disruption is allowed to proceed, we’ll be able to build a new system that’s characterized by lower costs, higher quality, and greater convenience than could ever be achieved under the old system.”
What innovations have you seen in healthcare? Have these innovations been adopted and maintained? It appears that without radical changes in the system (changing attitudes and culture), many of the most brilliant innovations will have trouble being around in the future.
Malcolm Gladwell really hits this point hard in his segment below on healthcare innovation (we have to deal with the “frame”):
Finally, see below for one “low cost” healthcare innovation in Peru:
Let’s work on innovation while simultaneously working on the “frame” that all the innovations are placed in.