Physician viewpoint: Human innovation is a needed challenge to the healthcare status quo

Constant, continuous innovation is crucial to improving healthcare, whether through the introduction of new technologies and treatments or by challenging popular beliefs and traditions, according to microbiologist Peter Piot, MD, PhD.

In an op-ed for Scientific American, Dr. Piot, who was a member of the team that discovered the Ebola virus and has also conducted pioneering research on HIV/AIDS, described the never-ending need for healthcare innovation. Progress in the field is regularly hindered by misinformation, distrust, inequality, climate change and more, and human innovation is the surest way to combat those challenges.

"In health, innovation is so much more than the discovery or launching of new therapies, vaccines and/or apps. It is first and foremost about finding better ways of reaching people to improve the efficiency, quality, sustainability or affordability of healthcare and disease prevention," Dr. Piot wrote.

And while technology and other new innovations certainly hold the potential to add to misinformation, bias and inequality, they are still absolutely necessary for progress to be made on a global scale.

"How lucky we are to live in a world which has never been so better connected, so we may share our learning. By applying groundbreaking ideas and tools that create new possibilities, we can better reach and inform those in need of care," Dr. Piot concluded. "Innovation constantly challenges the status quo and so must we."

More articles on innovation:
Malcolm Gladwell: 3 reasons for the 'lag' between innovation and adoption
Healthcare innovation is focused on personalization, cost savings: report
5 traits of highly innovative companies

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