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The 4 most effective ways to avoid healthcare innovation failure

  • 01 November 2018 / By Sarah Berger
  • Emerging Technologies Healthcare

By 2022, experts predict that voice-enabled smart devices will be installed in 55 percent of US homes. By 2024, around 70 percent of Americans will do their grocery shopping online. And by 2030, reports estimate that the number of IoT connected devices will surge to 125 billion.

Technology is the foundation by which human beings solve problems, navigate the world around them, and meet their social and physical needs. The healthcare industry is no exception, and even legacy providers aren’t safe.

In response, more than a few major healthcare organizations are pivoting their focus to digital innovation, especially in 2019. This route to healthcare innovation will undoubtedly yield success for some. However, for the vast majority, it will result in overwhelming failure, due in large part to a lack of proper planning and a reactive versus proactive strategy.

How can healthcare organizations avoid the pitfalls of this rush toward digital innovation? What will it take to be among the very few to achieve ROI? And, more importantly, how can healthcare leadership not just come out ahead but on top?

For healthcare IT innovation in 2019, avoiding failure comes down to four key strategies.

Ensure your team is ready to take on new opportunities by updating internal processes

For major enterprises, size is a double-edged sword: bigger workforces, heftier budgets, and greater brand awareness mean legacy companies are insulated from losses, but large enterprises also have more rigid company structures that slow innovation and make adoption of new technology more difficult.

Technology moves so fast that as soon as legacy enterprises design, develop, and launch new digital offerings, users are moving onto the next big thing. Keeping up is hard, but it’s not impossible.

First look at your internal processes and digital infrastructure, and then tailor your strategy to include both front-end and backend improvement and innovation. This holistic approach to digital maturity will put you light years ahead of the competition. Plus, as new opportunities come your way, you’ll be better prepared to strike while the iron is hot. 

 

Think about “now” and “next”

There’s something to be said for showing up in the digital channels your customers already use: it saves time, virtually guarantees faster user adoption, and keeps you in lockstep with the competition. But the more you focus on keeping up with your competitors, the more you cripple truly innovative thinking.

It’s easy to talk about being an industry leader, but it’s much harder to actually be one. The key is taking calculated risks and balancing business objectives with user goals. What do modern patients need? And, what cutting-edge technologies help them meet those needs? While it’s critical to think about how to capitalize on technology available right now, making a point to also think about where you could be.

Slow down to move fast

The old Navy SEAL adage, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast,” rings especially true in healthcare innovation. Facebook is already paying for its founding motto, “move fast and break stuff,” and the same could happen to you if you aren’t careful.

Don’t mistake speed for innovation — the clock is ticking, but careful and deliberate steps toward a clear vision are the only way to achieve lasting success. Remember that value comes with purpose, and purpose is the antithesis of reactivity.

Put the product and the people as equal priorities

Technology doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It exists because it helps human beings solve problems. Innovation for the sake of change rarely succeeds, and users are quick to point out technology forgets to account for the human beings it’s meant to help. 

healthcare is distinct from other industries simply because it is at the core of the human condition. Almost no other industry can say with certainty that it’s in the business of saving lives, but that is precisely what healthcare brands are doing. 

This is why leaders within the healthcare industry must put people first when it comes to technology. First and foremost, that means putting patients’ needs at the center of their digital design strategy. But beyond end users, enterprise teams should be carefully accounted for as well.

Major organizations must consider if they’re setting up their own IT teams to succeed by including them in the process of innovation and tech adoption. Look for partners that work hand-in-hand with internal teams rather than those that simply deliver a digital product. If a consultancy doesn’t put additional effort into getting IT teams on board with new innovation, the chances of post-launch mismanagement are far too great.

 

Moving forward

On the road toward digital maturity, failure is inevitable. Accepting some level of risk is the only way to move ahead in the modern digital landscape. But risk is not synonymous with recklessness, and moving forward with a clear strategy that balances sustainability and innovation is the only way to win in today’s challenging healthcare industry. 

For leaders in healthcare, there is no time for hesitation. Taking deliberate steps forward — armed with the resources and expertise you need to navigate uncharted terrain — is crucial.

As healthcare continues to push boundaries to better serve their customers’ needs, technology and innovation will become key components in the race to save lives.

Interested in beginning the journey towards innovation in healthcare?

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