I hear a lot of chatter in the Hospital’s about pushing innovation. Many Hospitals have started “innovation” initiatives and/or brought in innovation consultants. However while many make the talk few will make the walk. The reason? Innovation require disruption and Hospitals dislike disruption. Except for the education sector there is no other organization that so tightly clings to convention. Healthcare has changed how they deliver service but the changes have been forced by both government regulation and increasing patient demands. Most Hospitals are dragged into change versus leading change and in turn developing innovative delivery systems. Only a handful of healthcare organizations have voluntarily created and embraced disruption. One disruptor is definitely Geisinger Health who has guaranteed satisfaction about their services with their “warranty” program – If patients are not happy they can make a claim to get some or all of their money back. Radical? Disruptive? Yes and Yes and absolutely innovative (and highly successful), yet ......no one has the courage to follow.
All organizations and people resist change but the reason that true innovators succeed is because the leadership at these organizations make their staff and organizations uncomfortable, not in a bad way but in a good way. They are willing to put up with a fairly high level of discomfort and risk and because of that their organizations have no choice but to innovate. There are literally hundreds of small healthcare startups trying to assist in the innovative process yet they struggle to penetrate the current Hospital mindset. Hospitals dabble in these new ventures, cautiously dipping their toes and slowly, ever so slowly, testing new concepts as the world and aggressive competitors pass them by.
If there was ever a time for boldness in Healthcare we are there now. Regulations change daily, reimbursements are unstable, and patient populations are less healthy and you can’t control that but what you can do is design a flexible and responsive delivery system that can react to whatever challenges arise. So if you are serious about creating an innovative organization spend a little time reflecting on what that means. Start the mindset change with staff, set attainable but hard to reach goals with firm timelines and clear metrics and stop dabbling, start committing to some serious disruption. It’s unpleasant for the short term but the long term results are nothing less than uplifting and impactful for both your patients and your employees.