Maintaining Momentum in Care Transformation
Maintaining momentum and continuous innovation is a significant challenge in today’s high speed, technology focused business climate. Our consciousness is rife with stories of leading companies like Blockbuster, Kodak, Blackberry and MySpace, who, for various reasons, were unable to respond in time to changing technology and consumer tastes. They ultimately ceased to exist.
Healthcare is certainly no exception to this dynamic. To be clear, comparing Blockbuster to the American healthcare system is akin to comparing a Sunfish sail boat to the Titanic. What both have in common however, is a severe aversion to unseen icebergs. It may also seem counterintuitive, given that scarcely a day goes by without an announcement trumpeting the “latest and greatest new healthcare technology that is sure to set the world on fire”. But the kind of innovation I’m referring to is more systemic, cultural, and long-term.
How do we as healthcare professionals continue to sustain a culture of innovation for the long haul that will both prevent failure but also help the industry grow into its greatest aspirations?
For your consideration, I offer a few characteristics and examples of what I think makes up the “secret sauce” of innovation culture. These are drawn from the experiences and partnerships we enjoy here at Great Lakes Health Connect. I don’t claim these to be earth shattering revelations, or even necessarily original. Only that they seem to be consistently present in many successful innovation efforts we have witnessed.
Removing Competitive Barriers
The healthcare business is unique in that ALL of us who work in the field are also consumers of the services we provide. This universal truth and common need, suggests that regardless of organizational loyalties and competitive market dynamics, some amount of cooperation among likeminded organizations with similar goals could spur innovations that would inevitably benefit everyone. That, in a nutshell, is the story of how Great Lakes Health Connect came into being. Nearly ten years ago, several competing health systems from across Michigan set those interests aside. They committed to sharing patient health data for the benefit of patients across the state. That initial agreement eventually became what is now Great Lakes Health Connect, one of the leading health information exchange organizations in the nation today. Innovative organizations have the ability to set aside competitive self-interest to achieve a larger goal.
Perhaps your organization does not compete head to head with another organization. There is more to collaboration than working with you “competition”. Such is the case of the University of Michigan’s System for Opioid Overdose Surveillance (S.O.S.) project. Their vision has brought together data from emergency medical services, hospital emergency departments, and medical examiners. These three seemingly disparate sources help create a holistic picture of the Opioid Crisis in high intensity drug trafficking areas in Michigan. Innovative organizations seek out non-traditional connections, recognizing that the sum of the parts leads to a greater whole.
“Outside the Box” Thinking
Last year, GLHC shared the story of Dr. Lara Dengerink-VanTil. While pursuing her doctorate in Nursing Practice, Lara recognized a need for improved communication and care coordination between the behavioral health practice where she was interning, and the primary care physicians they regularly interacted with. Without a specific solution in mind, she reached out to GLHC to see if such technology even existed. While not specifically designed to solve the problem that Lara outlined, out team recognized that our closed-loop Referral Application could meet the need. That initial conversation led to a very successful pilot program that ultimately became the subject of Dr. Dengerink-VanTil’s dissertation. Innovative organizations seek out solutions in unknown or unexpected places.
One of the best ways of developing and maintaining an innovation culture is by regularly interacting with others who are equally motivated. Last month, GLHC kicked off the 2018 Summit Series in Cadillac, MI. The Summit Series is now in it’s fourth year and are free educational conferences convened by GLHC for the benefit of the healthcare community. These events provide healthcare professionals and stakeholders in Michigan a chance to gather, share common experiences and best practices, and learn practical strategies for advancing care delivery and quality.
The theme of this year’s Summit Series is “Maintaining Momentum in Care Transformation” and acknowledges the reality of change and progress that the healthcare community has made in recent years. Presentations from leading thinkers in healthcare and technology will challenge us with their experiences and insights on how we can stay vigilant and continue to innovate toward achieving a fully sustainable and integrated healthcare ecosystem. We invite you to join us at one of our upcoming events. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Please check out the Summit Series page for more information.
We look forward to seeing you there!
This article was originally published on Great Lakes Health Connect and is republished here with permission.