4 ideas that could transform healthcare delivery


Tired of the slow nature of healthcare innovation, the Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School have taken matters into their own hands, creating a contest to help transform care delivery. The results may help solve long-time challenges in the industry, Harvard Business Review reports.

The Health Acceleration Challenge, issued in the fall of 2014, has identified four organizations that offer solutions to different problems in the care delivery process, according to the article. "All of these projects have stirred new thinking in the healthcare field," the article noted, and have the potential to be adopted across the country, systems and care delivery settings. 

Finalists include:

  • Bloodbuy, a Dallas-based company that provides hospitals with on-demand access to a diversified based of premier blood centers nationwide. So far, Bloodbuy has helped hospitals save 20 percent to 27 percent per unit on various blood products, for an average overall savings of 22 percent.
  • I-PASS Institute, a medical school collaboration that standardizes provider communication when transferring patients to different caregivers within a hospital. The handoff process has helped reduced injuries related to medical errors by 30 percent in nine hospitals.
  • Medalogix, a Nashville-based company that uses predictive analytics to identify when patients are eligible for hospice. The technology includes a workflow component to help clinicians better manage the process of deciding about hospice and transferring the patient.
  • Twine Health provides a population-health platform that allows patients with chronic conditions to collaborate with clinicians to develop personalized care plans that foster continued collaboration among providers and patients, as well as the patient's family, friends and a care coach. The platform has helped the number of patients reaching their outcome targets triple, with those targets reached in a quarter of the time of standard care.

The Harvard initiative will announce a winner in April but hopes the challenge can help break the innovation logjam in healthcare, whether external or internal. Internal barriers include helping hospital staffers understand what innovation means, incorporating time for learning--and thinking--into staffers' daily routines, and promoting informal, peer-based brainstorming early in the process.

Some hospitals find success in generating innovation internally. Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., for example, takes cues from retailers like Chipotle and the Apple store to help drive innovation at the hospital's innovation hub.

Other tactics include setting firm deadlines for proposing solutions, discussing ideas that won't work to determine what will work, and giving staff the time, and freedom, to fail.

For more:
- read the article
- watch videos from the finalists