Innovation in Healthcare – Part 1


Could Overlooking Internal Innovations Be Costing Your Patients And Your Organisation?

Healthcare organisations are in desperate need of reform. However, top-down thinking eans that golden opportunities to transform ‘disease-care’ into healthcare are being missed.

Working From The Ground Up
Recognising the importance of doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and patients are crucial when looking at how to create positive, lasting change. Especially when creating innovative solutions to the problems facing healthcare organisations.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that the healthcare industry would have well-established systems in place to improve the system. Especially for those operating at the coalface, to give voice to their ideas for improvement.

After all, the first thing that any doctor will ask of a patient is, ‘What’s wrong?’ and there is a good reason for this. The patient lives with their problems every day. The insight they have is invaluable.

Of course, those at the top need to support those on the ground – this way, the cycle holds together. Without a holistic approach to reforming healthcare, improvements quickly crumble.

Barriers To Change
At present, innovators working from a grass-roots level are forced to fight the system every inch of the way to have their ideas acknowledged.

Scepticism that there might be an alternative, more effective approach to ‘the way things have always been done’ means that it is near-impossible for innovators to get a foothold. They battle for the resources needed to get their project up and running.

However, of those who have stayed the course, the success stories are extraordinarily inspiring. Despite their pilot studies being hampered by lack of funding, equipment, space, manpower, and encouragement, their achievements are remarkable.

So how do these innovators reach their goals? In the vast majority of cases, by following a series of simple steps:

• Understand the challenges faced by the organisation;
• Identify a problem that needs to be solved;
• Devise a realistic solution – often requiring input from multiple disciplines; and
• Systematically implement the solution at a local level first.

Think Global, Act Local
This last point is key. By acting locally, and using existing frameworks to support their innovations, successful healthcare innovators are able to create the reform needed to have their ideas taken seriously. Once they do this, they are able to implement at a wider scale – until they can eventually take their improvements to the global stage.

Next month, in Part Two, we will look in detail at how these ideas work in practice.

Further reading: Herzlinger RE. Why Innovation in Healthcare Is So Hard. HBR May 2006

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.