What kills innovation? 4 hospital innovation leaders weigh in

To make innovation a priority, hospitals and health systems must harness innovation efforts from the pandemic to stay ahead of the curve. Here, four health system and hospital innovation leaders share habits that are killing innovation.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style.

Christine Brocato. System VP, Strategic Innovation of CommonSpirit Health (Chicago). Health systems are just recovering from the last COVID surge and there's a lot of concern about staffing levels and financials, which has hindered innovation as health systems have been focusing on immediate issues rather than future investments in innovation. 

Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD. Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Children's National Hospital (Washington, D.C.). What kills innovation is inaction and not leveraging pandemic lessons to continue developing novel solutions for patient care models, novel therapies and effective diagnostics. The innovation-killer would be going back to the pre-pandemic state of mind. 

Hospitals, payers and startups need to keep the momentum and push forward to continue the innovations that were introduced during the pandemic. To accomplish this, we need innovative healthcare legislation and policies at the national level as well as incentives to push innovation. We also must retire policies that are no longer relevant but are used to hamper innovation.

Brad Shaink. Administrative Director of Innovation of Houston Methodist. There's too much concern over failure, which is leading to a lack of innovation. Hospitals and health systems should have an appreciation and deep respect for learning, and be OK with the idea that not all innovative ideas will have quick solutions, and not all innovative ideas will work. 

Scott Joslyn. Chief Information and Innovation Officer at UC Irvine (Orange County, Calif.). What will kill innovation in an organization is the lack of commitment, disproportionate funding and not placing the right talent in the right place. Over the past few years, the healthcare industry has seen tremendous growth in investment and new approaches to delivering care. It is imperative that hospitals and health systems plan for this growth trajectory and explore new care delivery models. Innovation is a key means to help close rampant gaps in patient care delivery. It's not an option.


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