Innovation in Healthcare Requires New Technology Coupled with Strong Cultural Leadership

Steve Jourdan
Steve Jourdan

Guest post by Steve Jourdan, founder and CEO, BedWatch.

It’s a broken record – we need innovation in healthcare. Being the largest economy in the world by a significant margin, with a number of resources at our disposal, one would think that our ability to deliver healthcare services would also rank at or near the top. In fact, we don’t rank well at all. A Bloomberg ranking from last year finds the U.S. healthcare market ranked 46th in the world in terms of efficiency, with the second highest healthcare costs per capita reported[1].

But, innovation equals risk, and risk is a four letter word in healthcare, for good reason. Margins are thin, enforcement and compliance efforts related to HIPAA are increasing, and, ultimately patient care hangs in the balance at a time when reimbursement models are shifting from fee-for-service to being outcome-based. It makes perfect sense that healthcare organizations take a conservative approach to their business.

However, continuing to do the same thing will not move us forward. Private industry and even the federal government[2] are taking advantage of these advancements. Technology is here, but it needs to be embraced; current technologies need to be adopted by healthcare for the benefit of everyone.

If I can perform secure online banking and investing directly from my smart phone, provided by the highly-regulated financial industry, why do I have to wait to receive healthcare services because health workers are using the technological equivalent of a Big Chief Pad and no. 2 pencil?

There is great promise in current mobile and cloud computing technologies, in that they are more accessible, easier to use, more secure, more scalable and can enable people to be more effective. The technology advancements we need are already here.

That said, use of current technology is only half of the solution. The other half is the people side of the equation. A culture of improvement must be embraced by the organization from the top down in order for significant improvements to be realized.

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