Healthcare News & Insights

Embracing innovation: 6 ways to transform your hospital

As the healthcare industry continues to grow and change, many hospitals are focused on staying competitive in an increasingly crowded market. Creating a culture that embraces innovation and collaboration is one of the best ways to ensure your hospital provides excellent care, but it’s easier said than done. 

Most facilities want to expand and become more innovative, but there are often major roadblocks in the way. Leadership may not want to invest in innovation, especially when healthcare costs are on the rise and everyone is trying to maintain revenue.

Plus, creating a culture of innovation is a lofty goal that may be difficult to define and even harder to reach.

Innovation tips

But help is available.

Dr. Adrian Zai, director of research at Partners eCare in Boston, spoke on this topic at the HIMSS Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum, and Healthcare IT News highlighted six strategies from his presentation you can use to foster innovation:

  1. Encourage staff to pursue quality improvement projects. Developing an innovative, quality-focused culture involves encouraging new ideas and opinions that may go against the grain, but that creative thinking could make your hospital the next healthcare leader. Avoid immediately rejecting any ideas, and give all staff members opportunities to offer opinions.
  2. Formalize your strategy. A nebulous goal leads to nebulous results. While free reign is important for the brainstorming process, you’ll want to make sure your strategy is clear. Align initiatives with your organization’s needs so your hospital gets the most bang for its buck.
  3. Create a governance structure. Developing an implementation framework is essential to becoming more innovative. Centralize operations so you’re not dealing with many small groups coming up with minor ideas. You want to make a large impact across the organization to improve care for your patients.
  4. Emphasize collaboration. No matter how impressive one person’s ideas are, changing a hospital’s culture needs to be a team effort. Knock down the (metaphorical) walls between research and clinical staff, and encourage interdisciplinary teamwork to make your organization better.
  5. Look for alternative funding sources. Traditional funders may not understand what you’re trying to do, and part of innovation involves finances. Consider different types of partnerships with your vendors that offer more value to your facility. Small hospitals may want to collaborate with larger facilities to take advantage of additional resources.
  6. Start small. Don’t immediately jump into a major high-stakes project. First, develop smaller pilot programs that can be scaled up if they succeed.

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