5 steps healthcare leaders can take to nurture innovation

The key to increasing productivity may be doing less. The advice may sound counter-intuitive, but innovation is more profitable when it's streamlined, according to a post in the Guardian by Peter Thomond, M.D.

Having worked with 19 different healthcare organizations with his leader crowdsourcing organization Clever Together, Thomond says he sees the same problems over and over. From this, he's developed five tips for healthcare leaders:

  1. Kill half your projects. Stop or take a break from 20 to 50 percent of your approved projects so you can free up resources to get the initiatives done that will best address quality, prevention and productivity objectives. Clear focus comes when you're not trying to do too much, Thomond writes.
  2. Empower your people. There's more wisdom in your workforce than you think--harness the potential. Smart application of crowdsourcing tools empowers and engages staff.
  3. Throw out the project blockers. Who talks down innovation every time there's a new idea, often throwing around words like "never" and "won't?" Thomond suggests getting these characters out of your way.
  4. Get disruptive. Suggest new, innovative technology approaches to everyday tasks. Start small and technology-enabled care models will eventually suit larger populations, Thomond argues.
  5. Integrate patient experience and service improvement. Feedback from patients and the public is crucial and should be central to service improvement and transformation efforts. This is "laser-sharp" focus for improving services, according to Thomond.

Taking the time to step back and realize what is actually working and improving efficiency is a step that needs to be taken across the healthcare spectrum, according to a study published this week in Mayo Clinic Proceedings that determined 146 contemporary medical interventions are ineffective or do more harm than good.

Coordinated care and thinking about the issues of patient-centered care, quality, safety, and efficiency are other steps to productivity and reaching top performance, writes Julie Manas, president and CEO of the Western Wisconsin division of Hospital Sisters Health System in Eau Claire, Wisc. in a Hospital Impact post.

To learn more:
- read the post in the Guardian