by Larry Stofko

Innovation advice for CIOs and other leaders

Sep 22, 2016
CIOHealthcare IndustryInnovation

Expanding the realm of what's possible in healthcare and beyond.

change management
Credit: Thinkstock

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, the research division of Deloitte LLP’s life sciences and healthcare practice, conducted a survey of leaders across healthcare systems recently to identify the top 10 innovations that could potentially transform healthcare. Once the survey was complete, they narrowed the list down by applying the following definition of innovation:

Any combination of activities or technologies that break existing performance tradeoffs in the attainment of an outcome, in a manner that expands the realm of the possible. Defined in healthcare as providing “more for less”—more value, better outcomes, greater convenience, access and simplicity; all for less cost, complexity, and time required by the patient and the provider, in a way that expands what is currently possible.

Their final report explores these as their top 10 healthcare innovations:

  1. Next generation sequencing (NGS)
  2. 3D-printed devices
  3. Immunotherapy
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI)
  5. Point-of-care (POC) diagnostics
  6. Virtual reality (VR)
  7. Leveraging social media to improve patient experience
  8. Biosensors and trackers
  9. Convenient care: retail clinics and urgent care
  10. Telehealth

Sarah Thomas, managing director of Research for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, says the report explores innovations and how to adopt them into existing business models. “It also sets forth steps to take to create new ideas, including looking at nontraditional sources of knowledge and using existing materials to build new solutions and intelligence,” said Thomas.

“One of the biggest challenges in creating new solutions is access. Innovators need access to providers to fully understand their challenges and needs while, at the same time, providers need access to innovators to know what is out there or to provide feedback in development,” she said. Other steps involved in the process include:

Pilot, experiment and scale

Organizations can benefit from embarking on small-scale pilots before entering into full-scale contracts with new technology providers. “Pilots allow you to experiment with new approaches or technologies. Before you expand to scale, you can determine if they are a success. If not, you can pivot to adjust the strategy,” said Thomas.

Experiment with new business models

Organizations need to expand beyond traditional revenue sources by growing venture capital investments or engaging in joint ventures. According to Thomas, opportunities to share in the upside of innovation can eclipse the ROI derived just from adopting a new technology.

Change management

Organizations know change is needed but don’t have the ability to move forward. Therefore, transformational initiatives have a low success rate. Then, how do you effect change? Here is some advice from Thomas: “The most critical factor is to be sure that incentives are aligned. An innovation like telehealth saves time, improves access, reduces workload, and improves patient satisfaction. It sounds great on the surface. However, if providers are paid based upon the number of patients they see in person, there is actually a disincentive to adopt telehealth,” she said.

“The next question to ask is whether the problem being solved is one that actually limits progress. In other words, if your commute takes too long, getting a faster car is not going to overcome terrible traffic,” added Thomas.

Be agile

As Deloitte points out in the report, “If you don’t disrupt your own business models, someone else will.” They’ll reap the benefits too. And most of us are not in business to lose potential revenues.