3 ways healthcare leaders can encourage experimental innovation

The healthcare delivery model seems to be lagging far behind other areas of medicine in terms of much-needed transformation; indeed, healthcare leaders would greatly benefit from following the scientific model of innovation.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, three leaders from the Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania explain how hospitals and health systems can adopt the experimentation-friendly mindset of the medical sciences.

Here are three approaches that will support experimentation and, ultimately, innovation in healthcare, according to David Asch, MD, director of the university's Center for Health Care Innovation, Kevin Mahoney, DBA, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Roy Rosin, chief innovation officer of Penn Medicine.

1. Delay consensus: To discover whether a novel idea is actually scalable, innovation teams should be empowered to pursue experimental projects without first seeking approval from all involved parties and executives.

2. Enable exceptions: Far from setting dangerous new precedents, allowing alterations to traditional modes of patient outreach and care delivery can result in more effective pathways.

3. Free the data: Privacy and security concerns have resulted in the plethora of healthcare data contained in EHRs and other IT systems to be unusable, but building an infrastructure that sits between systems and clinicians makes data available for experimentation that could result in increased efficiency and outcomes.

"Successful innovation requires experimentation," the article's authors concluded. "But healthcare change requires we tinker with the healthcare system we depend on, affecting critical resources organizations understandably protect. To support the people determined to drive change quickly, we need to find ways to bend institutional norms safely."

More articles on innovation:
12 innovations that will transform healthcare in the next decade
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