Discover your Teams' Innovation Maturities

New models of care, new clinical measures, and new technologies have emerged over the past few years as the entire healthcare industry transforms itself from a volume-driven model to a value-driven one. There are many factors that affect an organization’s ability to innovate.  Innovation can be a disruptive force in organizations and as a result, innovations vary in their degree of adoption. 


  • What are the elements in healthcare that drive success or failure? 
  • Does a formal process methodology ensure success? 
  • Are there key factors involved? 
  • What activities translate to actions? 
  • What actions then lead to changes in organizational behavior?
  • How does an organization formalize the innovation process?



Identify your Four Innovation Areas of Focus

Innovation requires organizations to manage several factors that directly influence the success of their projects and programs.  The HIMSS Innovation Areas of Focus are four key areas that organizations need to successfully manage and develop to ensure that innovation can flourish and thrive.  Each area of focus is independently measured but the areas are dependent on each other to ensure a wholesome, successful innovation program.  


  • Collaboration: Collaboration is essential to facilitate a successful innovation program and the whole organization must be equipped to communicate effectively.  Direct support and engagement from senior leadership can assist in creating a collaborative environment that identifies innovation opportunities internally and externally.
  • Innovation Process: As a process, innovation relies upon proper utilization of resources across the organization and thus process management methods are needed to ensure projects meet organizational goals.  To deliver new products or services, organizations must focus on developing and optimizing their innovation process to address the needs of all business units and stakeholders; without a formalized process initiatives can stall or fail.
  • Organizational Support: Even the most collaborative and process oriented approach to innovation cannot be fully effective without organizational support.  Organizational support has many characteristics that enable innovation but perhaps most essential is the buy-in required from senior leadership around the importance of innovation at all levels of the organization.
  • Funding: It is no secret that innovation projects require funding but too often organizations do not budget accordingly.  Funding should consistently meet the needs of the innovation program and investments need to be evaluated throughout the project-life cycle.

HIMSS Innovation Pathways Maturity Model: The purpose of this model is to assist healthcare organizations in improving their ability to innovate through the assessment and refinement of four key areas of innovation.  The goal of this model is to help you and your organization understand the many components of a successful internal innovation program and provide steps to improve your new or established innovation program.

Assess the Phase Your Innovation Practices Are In

To effectively integrate innovation practices into your organization’s culture, you will need to have an understanding of the current level of innovation maturity your organization has in the four key areas of innovation focus (Collaboration, Innovation Process, Organizational Support, Funding) The HIMSS Innovation Maturity model defines five phases of maturity.  These phases measure the maturity of each Innovation Area of Focus, which have an impact on the overall innovation capability of an organization.  Each Innovation Area of Focus is dependent on one another and organizations' maturity levels for each will generally be clustered around one phase.
The five phases on innovation maturity are:


  • Non-Functional: The ability to capture and harness innovation is non-existent
  • Developing:  The ability to capture and harness innovation is minimal
  • Inconsistent: The ability to capture and harness innovation is marginal
  • Consistent: The ability to capture and harness innovation is well established
  • Optimizing: the ability to capture and harness innovation is effective and sustainable

How To Get Ideas to Flow From Staff: Your staff isn’t short on ideas, just an environment to ready to receive them. To the manager who wants to engage her staff in change, put these in place and watch the ideas flow.   Here a few tips on creating an idea-positive culture.

Explore How Other Organizations Have Achieved Their Innovation Goals

Understanding how other healthcare organizations have operationalized innovation is an important step in improving your organization’s innovation maturity.  While every organization has its own unique operational style and culture, exploring how other healthcare organizations approach their own innovation maturity can help to spur you and your board’s own thinking on institutionalizing innovation within your organization.  
Some examples from the HIMSS Innovation Pathways Maturity Model case study library:


  • Kaiser Permanente’s “IdeaBook” Facilitates Top-down Suggestions, Bottom-up Ideation
  • Boston Children’s Hospital’s Social Intranet Promotes Collaboration, Innovation, Ideas
  • How UPMC Best Uses CDI Technology to Improve Physician Documentation, Coding Accuracy, and Revenue Cycle Operations



Innovation Pathways Maturity Model: Case Studies Library: The Innovation Pathways Maturity Model (IPMM) was developed as a construct to the Innovation process within the healthcare Industry & specifically its direct impact to the health IT community.  The IPMM work group, under the direction of the HIMSS Innovation Committee, is supplementing those Pathways by showcasing real world business case studies that demonstrate "optimizing" the highest level of maturity.

Choose the Optimal Process Improvement Models to Improve Your Innovation Maturity

Now that you have assessed your organization’s innovation maturity across the four areas of innovation focus and have reviewed how other healthcare organizations have operationalized innovation, it is time to determine the best process improvement model to drive growth in your organization’s innovation practices.  There are many process improvement models for your organization to consider, but some are more conducive to innovation than others are.  Explore the models you currently utilize in other areas of your organization.  Before you attempt to optimize your innovation practices, make sure you have selected the best model for your desired results. 

Process improvement models that can impact your organization’s innovation practices include:


  • Plan-Do-Check-Act
  • Six Sigma/LEAN
  • Agile Management
  • Total Quality Management (TQM)
  • Just-in-Time
  • Kaizen
  • Hoshin Planning
  • Poka-Yoke
  • Design of Experiments
  • Process Excellence