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St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center

Advancing Excellence

Feb 18 2013
Innovation: Solving Organizational Problems

Most weekends I bring home a stack of articles that never get read during the week. Sometimes I have been saving articles on a certain topic, such as the patient experience, quality, leading change and financial models.

Lately I have been on a search for best practices around innovation.  How does one organization embrace innovation, rapidly access and implement innovative ideas while another resists new ideas, or actually stops them before they can be assessed? What makes one person embrace innovation, while another starts with a no before the idea can be unpacked  for evaluation?

Some theorists say innovation teams should be outside the organization, where ideas are surfaced, tested and then dropped into the organization. Others suggest it should be embedded in the DNA of the organization.

How does one learn to be an innovator, to push teams to think like innovators, to take a problem or a process and push to a level that finds a solution? One CEO I know sends everyone through his school for Wizards, a place where they teach how to be a innovator.

The technology community uses Hack-a-thons, where teams start on a Friday night, identify an issue, form a team, and by Sunday have designed a solution.

Health care innovates all the time around new products, new processes and new structures, but much of that innovation happens by outside vendors and those who are engaged in research. How do we link or collaborate with those innovators? Should we establish or partner with a research institute?

How does innovation happen:*

1-problem is identified
2-ideas are generated
3-ideas are evaluated
4-solutions developed
5-first use or trial
6-consumer dissemination stage

(*Omarchdonu, University of Miami)

There are innovations occurring all around us from EMR technology, to robotics, to video scopes. Our quality and lean teams do some of this work.

How do we innovate and share best practices around structure and processes of care that are less visible? Where do we learn about best practices in a systematic way and adopt them?

There are more questions here than answers, but my reading suggests the answer is in our culture.  We believe in being passionate healers, and that requires us to be passionate about knowing we have the best information to solve problems and deliver the best care.  Listening to those closest to delivering the care, and exposing and engaging with partners who can help us innovate.

Are you an employee with an innovative idea to improve care or solve a patient or organizational problem?  I would love to hear those ideas!

More to come in the coming months on this topic but first I will continue my homework of learning from others (and I suspect from some of our own "wizards")!


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