The advances in medical treatment over the past several years have been nothing short of astonishing, but neither have been the challenges that these innovations have faced. Despite many of these technological advancements proving that they could improve many operations within the health care industry, it has been a struggle get them adopted and applied.
Why Is Innovation So Difficult in Health Care?
The first hurdles that anyone and anything in the health care industry must overcome are the rigid rules and strict policies that are enforced within it. On the one hand, these rules make sense: they are there to protect our health and the health of everyone around us. This same rigidity, however, is what causes once hopeful individuals to become disheartened as they realize that in order to make something happen, they will have to go through so many people, take so much time, and spend “x” amount of resources to see their actions through to completion. This has created a multi-layer rift that has unfortunately inhibited innovation in the industry due to three main disconnects:
- A management and front-line worker disconnect (leadership disconnect)
- A work environment that discourages knowledge sharing (physical disconnect)
- Employees who are disengaged (organizational disconnect)
There is hope in this difficult industry, however, as there is one disconnect that will never be: a health care provider to patient disconnect. Front-line health care providers like doctors, nurses, and occupational therapists all entered into this industry committed to heal the sick, making this one interaction that will never suffer. These interactions provide front-line workers with an in-depth and intimate knowledge of patient care, making them an invaluable resource to organizations when it comes to innovation. If the three barriers that surround innovation in health care can be overcome, then we can help health care organizations finally set foot on their much needed innovation journey.
Overcoming Innovative Barriers in Health Care
There is one thing that everyone in an organization can benefit from, and that is to reconnect. Of course, this cannot occur at only one level within the organization, but rather, can be a systemic reconnection that involves all levels:
- Leadership Reconnection: Bridge the disconnect between the management team and front-line workers by encouraging open communication and transparency. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as providing a forum or hosting a Q&A town hall that will support a two-way dialogue.
- Physical Reconnection: Front-line workers are always on the go, moving between different buildings, rooms, and patients. A solution: create products that can be accessible via mobile devices. This also fulfils an essential need for one to be able to reach these individuals wherever they may go.
- Employee Reconnection: Lack of engagement can often be sparked between both health care provider and organization through incentives. Reward, for example, can be used to re-ignite re-engagement between both parties and reconnect the two. Once a reconnection has been established, using recognition as an incentive will help build a strong long-lasting relationship between the organization and their community.
Laws and regulations may be a barrier to innovations in health care, but organizations are far from being helpless. By taking a few simple steps, companies can begin to reposition their business so that they will thrive and grow in this industry, despite the many obstacles that they face.