Hospital innovation efforts focus on cost reduction

Cost reduction is the focal point of innovation initiatives among hospitals and ambulatory care centers responding to the 2013 Healthcare Provider Innovation Survey from HIMSS and innovation accelerator AVIA.

In all, 92 U.S. hospitals, academic medical centers, children's and ambulatory care centers participated in the study, according to an announcement.

The type of facility surveyed factored into their innovation priorities. While hospitals overall were most focused on cutting costs, academic and children's hospitals made improving knowledge sharing and management top priority, while ambulatory care facilities put new patient acquisition at the top of the list.

The survey found providers are making progress in implementing innovative solutions in important areas, such as population health management, patient follow-up, predictive analytics, clinical decision support and care coordination.

And most do have dedicated budgets for innovation, though 67 percent reported that budgets total less than $2 million.

Other findings from the survey:

  • Respondents cited limited personnel, cultural/management challenges and limited investment capital as their chief barriers to innovation.
  • 43 percent expect a return on investment in less than 24 months, though increasingly organizations are undertaking projects with varying expectations on return.
  • 65 percent rely on internal staff networks as their main innovation resource.
  • Just 20 percent have a clear definition of what innovation means relative to their organization's goals.
  • Just 12 percent reported having a chief innovation officer, though that grew to 64 percent of organizations with annual revenues of more than $5 billion.
  • In terms of risk tolerance, 42 percent said brand image was their top priority and said their organization were unwilling to take risks that could jeopardize their brand.

"As shown by the survey results, innovation through IT offers opportunities to improve patient care. Successful innovation in health IT calls for integrating structure, efficiency and scale both within and across care delivery settings,'" said Carla Smith, HIMSS executive vice president.

Healthcare organizations must change their mindset about innovation, Ryan Bosch, chief medical information officer at Falls Church, Va.-based Inova Health System, said recently at the patient engagement panel at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

He likened most organizations' efforts to boarding a couple of horses: "We'll care for them and feed them, but we wouldn't dare do anything else on our own." Other industries, meanwhile, have huge research and development operations.

The Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recently announced that seven projects will split $2.2 million to illustrate the transformative power of data to improve the health of communities.

To learn more:
- find the report
- here's the announcement