Innovation. What has it done for us lately?
There comes a time with every new innovation cycle, when users go from the “Wow” factor to the “What Now?” factor. This is consistent with what we’re seeing from some experts in the field of health it who are beginning to voice their concerns that the wave of disruptive healthcare gadgets and gizmos has passed. It will likely take another innovation cycle, over five to 10 years, before the next groundbreaking wave of “must-have” technology solutions force their way into patient care environments. Now that more and more healthcare decision makers are seeing the novel uses of video conferencing services and smartphone technology in healthcare delivery, there is more demand for continued and improved technology solutions.
Within the last six months, I have attended several healthcare conferences including HIMSS, ATA and MATRC where the discussion of innovation inevitably arose. Here are some comments I heard:
“I didn’t see much innovation.”
“A lot of new exhibitors in attendance but nothing new or innovative.”
“Nothing to write home about, just more people and more vendors…maybe next year we will see some innovation.”
After attending my third event of the year, I noticed the common opinions amongst my peers were becoming a trend and, as an integrator of technology such as telemedicine in healthcare solutions, it got me thinking, “What has happened to healthcare innovation?“
- Were my colleagues expectations not met this year because of the attention and buzz innovative healthcare solutions had received in previous years?
- Had the bar been set too high?
- Had the technology market become saturated with an abundance of smartphone apps, Bluetooth connected accessories, wearables, hearables and the like, to the point where no one stood out from the crowd?
- Is the reality of today’s healthcare landscape such that technology manufacturers have used up all their tricks and as a result, innovation has leveled off?
- Or, have healthcare professionals just become totally numb to all of the latest and greatest widgets and doodads that have hit the market?
In my opinion, we are looking in the wrong place for innovation. Instead of looking at the latest and greatest technology that is hitting the marketing we should be looking for innovation in how technology is implemented in real-world healthcare settings.
What healthcare currently lacks and needs is more innovation (and attention) on HOW to leverage existing technologies, not more technologies. If healthcare innovators and technology developers focus their efforts on improving and refining how the current solutions can better integrate into the clinical workflow, a big step forward could be made on adding clinical value to a providers workflow all the while reducing pain points, resulting in better patient care delivery.
The healthcare industry’s evolution is no different from other industries that have incorporated disruptive technologies. Color televisions forever changed the consumer and broadcasting market. The introduction of digital photography essentially ended the film photography era. Yet, the innovative disruptions that forced the valued-added transformation in those industries were game changers. Healthcare is no different than the industries before it. It is time for healthcare innovators to figure out how to seamlessly incorporate existing technologies into the clinical workflow, derive value and revolutionize how patient care is delivered
Healthcare innovation needs to lead the industry down the path of adding value and transforming the business model to enable better care and affordability. A game changer will be when existing technology solutions evolve to become indispensable tools in a healthcare provider’s tool belt. These might include solutions that:
- Reduce user logins and mouse clicks
- Are easy to use and seamlessly integrate into the daily workflow of physicians and nurses
So, what do you think? Is healthcare innovation ready for a game changer?