Teaching Hospitals Lead Innovation Movement

April 1, 2013

by Deborah Borfitz

Deborah BorfitzDuring the last five years, a growing number of health systems have confronted marketplace uncertainties by establishing formal and sometimes far-reaching innova­tion initiatives. Many health care organizations are giving innovation the “attention it deserves” with full-fledged, if often virtual, innovation centers and appointing chief innovation or transformation offi­cers, according to Joanne Conroy, MD, chief health care officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges. For the most part, they are teaching organizations in search of revenue streams, battling propensities to be “hierarchical, risk averse, and lumbering” in their change efforts, Conroy says.

Academic medical centers more than two decades ago began translating re­search discoveries into marketable products and services, says Conroy. Both traditional and independent teaching institutions, such as Danville, PA-based Geisinger Health System, have more recently started developing “delivery of care” innovations. A few institutions are now also innovating by disrupting current business practices, such as by partnering with MinuteClinic to provide episodic care to cash-paying patients.

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare recently announced a “land­mark alliance” with Deloitte Consulting to create a destination center for health analytics insights needed to reduce costs and improve patient out­comes. Other leading health care systems with robust repositories of clinical and financial data are expected to be engaged.


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