How Transformative Innovation Is Impacting Healthcare

By Katie Lynch, CAHIMS | Chief Operating Officer | November 26, 2019

The word “innovation” means many things to many different people in various industries. However, what I believe we all can agree on is that innovation represents the changes that need to happen in order for us as a society to progress. At John Lynch & Associates, we refer to this as transformative innovation, which is key to advancing healthcare.

However, while there is a lot of talk about innovation in technology, health, science, and beyond, there are several challenges to embracing innovation and implementing the transformative changes that we need.

Some such challenges result from the healthcare industry’s infrastructure – such as regulation and prerequisite research – while other challenges result from the culture of the industry as a whole.

With the increase in healthcare spending that has occurred in the last four to five years, the opportunities for growth are massive. Transformative innovation, such as faster development for treatment options, development of new, safer drugs, and maximizing efficiency through use of artificial intelligence in research and data analytics, are within reach.

Yet, in order for us to heighten the ability for large companies to help impact the patient, we must improve the healthcare industry’s ability to embrace transformative innovation.

Critical Innovation for Transformation

The healthcare industry seems to move so quickly and yet so slowly at the same time. On the positive side, the healthcare industry is booming with new research and a better understanding of what causes – and, therefore, how to treat – terminal illnesses. New developments are constantly emerging from such research and need to be implemented.

However, at the same time, legislation and the actual implementation process of some of these developments take a great deal to time to roll out – on both a small scale and a nation-wide scale.

For example, the traditional encounter-based care model is going away. Instead, healthcare providers are embracing the value-based care model for the sake of enhancing the patient experience, quality of care, health outcomes, and cost-efficiency. Yet many providers are overwhelmed by the transition.

Meanwhile, providers are swamped by the growth in demand for services as baby boomers are retiring, chronic diseases are heightening, and costs are too high.

A recent study by McKinsey & Company found that productivity in the healthcare industry is dropping by 0.8% annually over a significant period of time. Conversely, other industries are growing in productivity.

Therefore, we need to see transformative innovations implemented in healthcare.

Challenges to Implementing Innovation

Growth itself is challenging. When you add something that is ever-changing, such as technology, that growth can feel overwhelming and paralyzing. Healthcare organizations are, at times, quick to change and grow, and are slow to change at other times, particularly when it comes to technology.

Innovations such as incorporating wearable devices or monitoring tools that work within virtual care and telehealth are transformative innovations that are available to us now, but we are facing the challenge of implementing them into healthcare practices today.

Additionally, before implementing such innovations, organizations need to be able to gather data and conduct analytics on the changes to incorporate them into population health improvements on a larger scale.

Another major challenge is understanding how to incorporate those innovations into what an organization is doing today. For example, many healthcare organizations are ready to embrace the value-based payment model and the philosophies behind it to enhance clinical and business practices but are not sure where to begin.

Sadly, if healthcare organizations fail to adopt transformative innovation, they will be at a significant disadvantage and will not be able to compete.

Supporting Trends in Transformative Innovation

There are numerous transformative innovation trends that show amazing promise. For instance, developments in telehealth allow providers to deliver healthcare in other environments rather than just that in office.

Looking at population health management, rural healthcare, and helping patients with chronic diseases without astronomical costs is within reach if we use telehealth innovations.

The changes that can happen in the coming years all circle around delivering better overall care, safer treatment, and more satisfying care at lower costs for patients. Achieving this requires utilizing electronic tools, creating innovative payment structures, and working with revenue cycle departments to make sure that they are securing adequate payments.

However, all of these powerful trends require strong leadership. Healthcare leaders can support innovation by focusing on change management, initial investments, and opportunities for partnership with other practices that may be at a disadvantage but have a significant contribution to offer.

Our ability to embrace transformative innovation comes down to leadership, being creative in a traditionally rigid industry, and strategically planning for adaptations.

At John Lynch & Associates, we provide healthcare organizations with strategic management services to help manage teams, organize all of the moving parts that are required to innovate, and heighten the patient experience through efficient, advanced healthcare. If you are interested in embracing the myriad of innovations available today, get in touch with us today.

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