The new buzz word in health care is “innovation”. Which is a good thing!
I have been in the ecosystem of innovation since 2016 with the startup company Neobiomics and the ProPrems® product, in the Innovation Incubator at Karolinska Institutet (KI DRIVE). There we meet with other startup companies, and we share several of the challenges of operating in the interface between innovation and “traditional” health care.
Here's a few thoughts.
Innovation can only benefit patients through implementation
For innovations to reach out and bring value, implementation is key. No matter how brilliant an idea, it needs to be brought to life in an open-minded culture, where learning and change are core values. Health care can be conservative and resistive to change, and that may slow down, discourage or even hinder implementation.
Eminence-based medicine vs evidence-based medicine
I am a strong advocate of evidence-based medicine myself, but health care is still influenced a fair bit by “eminence-based medicine”. High-profile people may tell how they “feel” or “believe”. While feelings and beliefs are essential parts of the human nature, they are (IMHO) insufficient arguments in discussions about evidence. Innovations backed by evidence may not “feel right” if they change current practice. But we need to trust data, or else there is little point of doing research.
(Too?) many stakeholders
Health care is a complex structure, with a lot of stakeholders. While patients are more empowered now than ever before, there are a lot of “layers” between an innovation and a patient. Implementation involves staff, informal leaders, heads of departments, pharmacies, management teams, professional bodies, policymakers etc. As a consequence, implementation takes time. It can take more time than patients should need to tolerate.
- To take words to action, health care needs to embrace a culture of learning and change, or else “innovation” will be no more than a buzz word
- Research data is a valid starting point for change
- Innovators travel with light luggage, and need a complementary decision-making process in health care, not to delay the benefits and value that innovation bring patients
With best regards from the Department of Brilliant Ideas