The possibilities for health care innovation are seemingly limitless. However, even the most robust health care organizations can’t pursue every great idea. That’s why a focused approach to innovation is essential and ultimately helps create digital products and services that make a difference to peoples’ lives and well-being.
How to begin the innovation process? Admittedly, the most important step doesn’t sound too innovative – focus on the true problem you are trying to solve. If that seems like a no-brainer, it’s actually a radical mind-flip for health care. Too many of our organizations focus on financials and what’s best for the enterprise, when it’s really all about the end-user. We also need to stop referring to those we serve as patients and use the term “consumer” instead. Patients, as the word implies, suffer and wait for us to make decisions for them – not exactly the way most of us want to be regarded. Consumers are vital, decision-making members of the community who actively seek the best partner for health care.
Next, recognize that consumers have problems to solve. This, too, may not sound like news since we all know the U.S. health system has many problems. However, not all problems concern our customers, so being selective is critical. Find the sweet spot of seeking out solutions to problems that align with big issues addressed in your strategic plan. For example, Providence St. Joseph Health is pursuing answers to mental health concerns in a big way. That means we give points to pursuing solutions that help keep people emotionally well.
It helps to have a system and process when defining the scope your work. We’ve established that achieving consumer value is a must, but there are three other factors to consider: caregiver value, financial value and enhancement of quality of care.