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Four Opportunities for Innovation in Health Care

When it comes to innovation, many opportunities exist today which the health care industry could take advantage of — but does not. From rules and regulations to outmoded systems and processes, innovation continues to be pushed aside in health care despite the vast number of benefits that it offers. Below are four great examples of how innovation, particularly with modern day technology, could help propel this restrictive industry forward.

1. Mobile Communications

Those working in the health care industry are always on the go, whether it be from building to building, home to home, or room to room. This makes tracking and recording necessary information incredibly difficult and cumbersome. The solution: mobile devices — or so one would think. Despite the increasing popularity of mobile devices, hospitals have largely banned the use of smartphones. And yet, as reported in this article, 67 percent of nurses have already adopted this technology in the workplace and are texting one another key information out of necessity via insecure phones. The question now is not whether hospitals will optimize communications between their front-line staff through secure mobile devices, but when they will. Once hospitals decide to take charge of the conversation, the innovation opportunities are boundless! Health care providers could connect with each other via secure lines, important patient information is readily available, patients will experience smoother transitions between multiple doctors through scheduling apps… the list goes on. Mobile communication is a great way to use technology to innovate the health care environment.

2. Taking Advantage of Front-Line Knowledge

There is often a glaring gap between front-line workers and their management in any industry, and health care is no exception. So how can we address this? Front-line workers are a source of invaluable insight and innovation due to the sheer number of hours each and every day they spend tending to patients. The doctors, nurses, and care aides that spend all week working in the current system likely have some great ideas to open and streamline communications or increase the effectiveness of various processes. So, it is worthwhile developing the means to harvest their best ideas in any effort to create a better and more effective system. Currently, there are idea management or innovation management tools that can streamline the process of taking ideas from front line employees to managers. Take advantage of the hidden value of ideas from the front lines by incorporating one of these tools.

3. Using Portal Technologies

Portal technology is nothing new when it comes to connecting individuals within an organization. Other industries have already harnessed this technology to improve their business, such as banking. Online banking options is a great example of a portal technology where people can now check their balance, pay bills, and transfer funds with a click of a button. The health care industry too could significantly benefit from this portal technology. Having a one-stop shop where patients can book appointments, receive test results from their doctor via video chat, and tap into important health resources will streamline the current processes between patients and their health care providers, and create a more efficient system.

4. Insight through Big Data

For years “big data” has been a big deal in the health care industry, with there being large leaps in the digitizing of health information ranging from medical records and patient care to pharmaceutical knowledge. Now that the data has been created and compiled, for it to hold any real value, it must be organized, searchable, and actionable. Technology holds the key to all three points, being capable of aggregating, sorting and analyzing this data so that it will provide the insight necessary to give direction and solutions to organizations. Take advantage of big data to drive value creation and improve patient care in the health care setting.

These are just a few examples and ideas to get you started — add your own in the comments below.

Harness the power of employee ideas.