Monday, February 2, 2009

Disruptive innovation needed to fix health care system

The United States Health Care system is in trouble. Obama knows it, as does the rest of the country. The New York Times recently wrote a piece on how disruptive innovation could be the key to making the US health care system both affordable and more efficient with out having to spend billions of dollars.

The system that currently runs on a model that was developed years ago, and it also focuses on fixing illnesses, not promoting wellness. If innovation could be used to increase both quality and accessibility, costs could be reduced at the same time. The new technologies we have today could help with this, as they focus on individualization and could focus on prevention instead of solving crises when they occur.

Clayton Christensen, 2008 Front End of Innovation Boston keynote, had this to say about innovation for the health care system:
“Health care hasn’t become affordable because it hasn’t yet gone through disruptive decentralization.”

Do you think innovation can help the health care system?


Ed Dodds said...

The Medical Banking Project has been looking at how banks can either augment or disrupt the status quo - I have a keen interest in the role that open source technologies might play in a disruption.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for you insight, Ed.

Peter Lucash said...

Well, yes, of course, but it's easier said than done. In health care, it really is a matter of life or death.

It's not that simple. Unfortunately, we're dealing with people here, and they don't cooperate too well. Drug and alchohol abuse, poverty, lack of education, and geographic distance all hamper prevention efforts. Genetics plays a big role in illness. Now, we are about to see the run up of elderly who will live longer. Europe and Japan is now confronting the same issue and seeing spikes in their healthcare costs.

Innovation that can relieve the use of individuals for all direct care has to work 100% of the time - no "blue screen of death". There is considerable movement and promise, particularly in using robots and other tech tools to aid in assisting frail elderly to live at home safely. So there is a lot of promise - but don't underestimate how difficult it really is. The landscape is littered with companies which were going to save the world - Healthscape and Revolution, to name just two.

mitip said...

The current crisis has doubled the pressure on healthcare as increasing demand crosses over with reducing or static funding. This is the driver of an innovation revolution about to affect healthcare by rapid expansion of the consumer wellness space. I am sure we all know that current 'healthcare' is actually illness care, post diagnosis.
We are currently exploring these matters with european state funded health providers where it is easier to see it being adopted because they can impliment change nationally.
In UK the an inhibitor of disruptive change is the working practices of clinicians. The old viewpoint that change in health should be left in the hands of clinicians because 'doctor knows best' can inevitably inhibit radical change. I believe attitudes need to shift to 'doctor knew best and is unlikely to endorse something new that might be cheaper and better but that threatens his or her role'.
I agree all healthcare needs a shake up that will be disruptive, look at China or India because I believe it more likely we will move toward their models than them toward ours.

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