Becker’s Hospital Review | Energizing Community-Based Health Systems With Innovation Opportunities

By Joe Randolph | As patient care is transformed with pressures on margins and disruptive outside players, many health systems are struggling with how to energize their workforce to make the necessary changes.

The industry is experiencing consolidation through mergers in an effort to gain synergies from reduced overhead expense and market leverage. At the same time, leadership is tasked with trying to create a culture of innovation while also managing the chaos. Many health system leaders are tasked with trying to find ways to get hospital staff engaged with leadership to transform care delivery. In every instance, innovation plays a key role in navigating the new paradigm.

Much like teaching hospitals, which provide medical education and training to future and current health professionals, The Innovation Institute (a for-profit LLC owned by non-profit health systems) provides health system doctors, nurses, and other staff members with the tools, support, and the feedback they need as innovators. The Innovation Institute was launched five years ago as a collaborative with six non-profit health systems to advance innovation. At its “core,” the Innovation Institute is a healthcare incubator. As an incubator, the Innovation Institute must glean the best ideas from front-line physicians and staff members so the solutions or products can be advanced and taken to market. The strategic purpose for the Innovation Institute is to advance innovation and seek new revenue streams. In its fifth year of operation, the Innovation Institute has revenues of $265 million and EBIDA of approximately $20M.

Teaching Hospitals versus Community-Based Health Systems

Teaching hospitals often serve as research institutes and have an affiliation with a medical school. The community-based health systems that are owners of the Innovation Institute have a relationship with our incubator, called the “Innovation Lab.” The Innovation Lab provides innovation facilitators for each of the six health systems to energize physicians, nurses, and other staff members to innovate as a part of their daily routine. Unlike teaching or research hospitals that focus on specific research that can be converted to intellectual property without a clear path to commercialization, the Innovation Lab is a “needs-based” or “problems-based” model. We work with frontline employees who identify problems in need of solutions. The solutions are evaluated, protected, incubated and ultimately commercialized. Even simple solutions can generate significant results. Embracing innovation builds morale and revives employees’ and physicians’ creativity, intelligence, and tenacity. Physicians are scientists at heart, and are always looking for ways to improve care. In today’s health care environment, tapping innovation provides an outlet for physicians and clinicians to grow while advancing and improving patient care.  More…