There’s a lot of buzz in healthcare about innovation. Innovative thinking is how healthcare organizations are working to add value to patients and stay competitive in the rapidly changing healthcare climate. In the words of one healthcare leader, “innovation is developing the future.”
While organizations may have different ways of thinking about innovation and even different processes they use to get there, we found through talking with many of our customers that there are four essential elements for innovating patient care:
Focus on the Patient
One of our customers defined innovation as, “providing a service that our customer wants and [determining] how to pivot through changes that are needed.” The focus must be on the patient. It is imperative that you understand your customers’ needs and wants so you can define what value really means to them. This is often done by asking good questions, going to the gemba, listening to the voice of the customer, and putting yourself in the patient’s shoes.
Reimagine What is Possible
Innovation is about rethinking what is possible. Many of our customers shared with us that innovation includes creative thinking, thinking outside the box, and being bold and breaking paradigms. Often it is necessary to remove people’s fear, so they feel confident in trying something new. True innovation goes beyond improving a current process and creates processes that have not existed before.
Separate from Daily Work
To do innovation you have to figure out how to remove blinders and work beyond your frame of reference. That is why many organizations keep this process separate from they daily work of operations. We often see organizations creating new teams to assign ownership of the process of this work. Without this allocated responsibility, it would be easy for innovation work to be put on the back burner while people go about their daily work.
Include Multiple Perspectives
It is vital that you include multiple perspectives in the innovation process to avoid closing off possibilities. This is an important factor when pulling together an innovation team. These perspectives add to the team’s ability to be creative when they are thinking up new concepts and developing rapid learning cycles aimed at the ideal state.
Innovation at your organization might look like implementing new technologies to serve customers, solving old problems in ways, or creating entirely new care models. The idea is to do something new to move the organization forward by focusing on the patient and creating value.
Why do you think innovation in healthcare is important? How has your organization approached innovation?
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Catalysis Healthcare Value Network