Thursday, November 3, 2011

Health Care Innovation Advice Not Always Welcomed

Advice is seldom welcome and those who want it most always like it the least.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773), Letters to His Son

November 3, 2011 – At this year's meeting of the College of Healthcare Management Executives, the audience received this advice from three experts on health care innovation.

--Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor, who champions “disruptive innovations” – less expensive but equally effective innovations given by less specialized personnel, said nurse practitioners should be allowed to administer colonoscopies. The problem is, he says, that physicians object. Physicians say they should be allowed to perform more colonoscopies in their offices, but hospitals object. Sometimes the best advice is rejected by those who need it most.

--Michael Leavitt, former Utah governor and former HHS secretary, said physicians and hospitals should collaborate more to save money and increase efficiencies through collaborative ventures like accountable care organizations (ACOs), But physicians, even in the most prestigious and established physician collaborative organizations in the land, reject ACOs as too expensive to set up, too bureaucratic, too much at risk for anti-trust actions, too slow in sharing savings, and too fast in punishing failure. Top-down government advice is not often welcomed from the bottom-up.

--Ed Marx, senior VP and CEO of Texas Resources, says in Texas they believe in seizing the innovation bull by the horns and taking these 6 steps to bring the bull to the ground.

1. Invest in innovation

2. Build an innovation process

3. Hire for innovation

4. Manage innovation “killers”

5. Embrace failure

6. Lead innovation

In other words, do something innovative. Go for the innovative brass ring, even if you fail, but learn from it. In Texas, they have begun to wrestle the bull to the ground by giving high risk patients BP cuffs and ECGs so patients can monitor themselves at home; giving parents videos to view their infants in the ICU so they can better interact with caregivers; giving doctors venous thromboembolic calculators so they can write orders to automatically reduce risks of venous thrombosis. These steps are not always welcomem, Marx says, but they work.

Tweet: IT Technology leaders are giving lots of advice on how to make care safer, better, and cheaper, but the advice is not always welcomed.

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