Academic medical centers (AMCs) have the potential to be leaders in the era of healthcare delivery reform, but most have yet to display a commitment to delivery innovation on par with their commitment to basic research. Several institutional factors impede delivery innovation.
That’s from a paper in a recent issue of Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation, a relatively new journal with some great editors like Sachin Jain and Ashish Jha.
It resonated with my observations of many talented friends in academic medical centers who work on delivery innovation. A few months ago I even had the opportunity to help out a friend in figuring out distribution for a delivery innovation that improves patient safety and quality of care. It was both fun and rewarding, in part because there seemed to be room to do so much more on something that matters. Here’s my simplistic view of the situation and an analogy from tech, and possibly folks in tech, could help (or already might be doing it).
Currently, researchers at academic medical centers are funded by grants to conduct research and write papers on delivery innovation. But delivery innovations only create value as they actually reach and are implemented by practitioners across hospitals and health systems.
The implementation mechanism has historically been from researchers to academic medical journals and conferences and then to the practitioners who follow the academic literature closely and then slowly over time to all practitioners. In a few integrated health systems where incentives are sufficiently aligned, there are additional resources to accelerate implementation when there’s a high likelihood of near-term quality and cost wins. But elsewhere, this natural diffusion process can take quite long.
One way to address this is to try to create larger budgets for “implementation programs” at the health system or governmental level. But what if it were possible to accelerate implementation without the usual top-down implementation program?
A possible analogy here is the trend towards consumerization of enterprise software. Yammer is a great example of this. Consumerization allows a software provider to replace the lengthy sales of large price-tag software and deployment to a CIO with a quick sale of an immediate free trial to a business user. The business user can experience some immediate value and then becomes a champion to deploy it at her team and other teams, and eventually at the company level, even evolving internal business processes along the way.
An important caveat is that consumerization goes beyond just a different approach to marketing / distribution. The actual product has to be such that a single user or small group of users can experience some value immediately and then bring others in over time.
In the last month, several doctors I know have joined Twitter and amazingly are using this consumer tech to exchange clinical knowledge in 140 character chunks (see #igsjc). Now could “consumerization of delivery innovation implementation” be a way to accelerate change of delivery systems?
Elsewhere on delivery innovations:
Elsewhere on consumerization of enterprise: