Three Steps to Innovating Faster in 2017

(as seen Becker's Health IT & CIO Review on January 3, 2017)

The always-quotable Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

Hospital and healthcare system executives might want to frame that saying and put it where they can see it daily—especially when considering their buying cycles. Organizations that don't innovate with new technology will continue to simply chug down the track as their bullet train brethren speed past.

By adopting an approach that streamlines the purchasing discovery process and supports effective evaluation of vendor partners, healthcare organizations can accelerate the decision-making process and lower their risk.

It's Not You, It's Me
Cost is often a major factor when purchasing an innovative new solution for your organization. But regardless of the price, if it's not needed or isn't appropriately fitted to your initiative, then that new widget is nothing more than an exorbitantly expensive paperweight.

Generally, the problem doesn't lie with the vendor that created the solution, it's with the health system. It's like winning the rights to host a major event (cough, Olympic games, cough) but without the infrastructure, preparation or resources to make it a success.

Three Steps to Embrace—and Realize—Innovation
There are three critical steps healthcare organizations should take to ensure they can accelerate effective purchasing decisions:

1. Align internal stakeholders on priorities for the year.
What major challenges are facing your organization for the coming year or two? How can you leapfrog your competition with new offerings and services? These questions, and many more, need to be discussed with the stakeholders most affected by the changes (or lack thereof).

Think of it like your family budget. That sports car that's been calling your name? Drive it home and see how your "innovation" is greeted if your spouse thinks that the kids' tuition has a higher priority.

2. Take stock of your existing vendors and technology.
If you don't know what you already have, how do you know what you need? An existing vendor who really does qualify to be called a partner might have just the solution you need. Going with a proven source is a great way to de-risk the innovation process.

3. Collaborate with peers to review and vet potential partners.
We lecture children and young people not to get in the car with someone they don't know; why would you get into bed with a vendor you haven't thoroughly screened? And more importantly, just because you like them, doesn't mean that the people who must work closely with them agree on your choice.

Bringing together a group of stakeholders, some of whom might bring differing viewpoints or experience, increases the odds for making the best choice. To return to Will Rogers, "Everybody is ignorant. Only on different subjects."

Once you check off these three tasks, you will be able to streamline the identification of needed innovations and ensure a higher level of adoption. Welcome to the bullet train.

Bruce Brandes
Founder and CEO

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