A Model for Innovation in a Legacy Healthcare
Healthcare companies are trying to be innovative – but are their very natures preventing them from realizing success? My question is a simple one – how can you take the best of what is necessary and combine it with the best of what is available and form something both new and necessary?
Can you make gold from lead? Actually, it turns out that you can. It really is possible and has been done at Yale University in the 1970s. However, it turns out that it takes significantly more energy (and cost) than it is worth in return. Juxtapose this with the question, “Can a legacy healthcare company be agile and innovative enough to change itself and its environment?” And even if they can turn themselves into “gold”, is it worth the cost?
I believe we must combine the necessary with the available and pick the best source for each – and work very, very hard to ensure they grow, together. We know that healthcare is approaching a “cliff” – and the hands at the wheel are the same ones that helped create the current dysfunctional system. This includes the patient, as well the insurance plans, the care providers, and the purveyors of all things health-related (like pharmaceutical companies). We know that we must alter course. The Affordable Care Act has given the impetus to force a change. But to change course, we need to change the system. The system, like a living being, is interconnected and will resist change applied externally. Moreover, change to any one part of it without consideration to the impacts on the rest of the ecosystem is futile. As the laws of physics tell us, things at rest tend to stay at rest. Businesses are similar. Unless there is an external catalyst forcing movement, companies, like objects, will stay put (and stagnate). There is an alternative to innovation at gunpoint – it comes in the form of taking a proactive approach to change. However change from within is really, really hard to do. But it can be done. Why not combine the best parts (contributions) of a start-up company with the necessary (working) parts of a legacy company to form agile, yet comprehensive, solutions to the dilemma? I believe this can be done through 3 simple steps:
- Place innovation front and center by embracing the successful attributes of start-ups,
- Create ecosystems of stakeholders that include patient, provider, and plan, and
- Simultaneously find the operational efficiencies needed to address rising costs.
I know this works because I have done it. But it takes a lot of effort to start the process for a breakthrough. It takes even more energy and communication to keep it going.
To your health,
The Team at imagine.GO