Innovation in healthcare comes down to how you care about, engage, and treat your people – your patients, your employees, your community and yourself. Forget the promise of new tech for a moment and consider its purpose: you're either using whatever you can get your hands on to reach people, to inspire them, to enable positive change, or you're just another organization, following the latest trends and bright, shiny objects. And most healthcare provider leaders who fall short of their strategic goals could change the outcome by focusing on their people.
How many hundreds of millions of venture dollars have gone to startups that promise to make it easier for patients to access their care teams and to understand billing and other processes? It's time to take responsibility for your patients, regardless of fee for value versus service considerations. Take care of them and they'll come back to you.
Everyone wants to be engaged, supported, and inspired to do great work. When a nurse, system administrator, or a facilities manager has a great idea to make a product or process better, you have an obligation to help – or at least listen. There shouldn’t be much clinical variation across medicine, for good reasons, but everyone can see and feel the difference in an organization full of A players who are bought in, fully present, and well supported. Take care of them and they'll take care of you.
Marketing, a core function of any successful, complex organization, can identify the needs of a market and then align offerings to those needs. Being present at community events and by way of advertising is a nice start, but leading with visible, impactful care is the difference between great organizations and all the rest. Great marketing organizations do more than spread goodwill and advertise; they constantly engage consumers to help inform key investments and decisions. Keep talking with people in your community and they’ll not only make you better, they’ll come to you.
The call for innovation results in new processes and technology, but the focus has to begin and end with people. If you inspire your employees, patients and communities with the relentless pursuit of better care, you'll innovate everywhere – in your offerings, your processes, your technology, your business model, your training, your people, your language. You'll change the way you plan, make decisions, think and act. It will never, ever end. Innovation requires reiteration. But one decision, one conversation, one change and one patient at a time, you'll make the thousands of little changes that push your organization forward and improve the daily lives of your patients, employees, and communities. And isn’t that your mission statement?
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