As many leaders in the health care industry know, finding health care solutions to meet our strategic needs is not a problem. There are hundreds, if not thousands of entrepreneurs and startup companies with ideas to revolutionize care. The challenge is quickly adopting these solutions after they’ve been selected.
Most traditional health care systems operate on a 12-month fiscal calendar, meaning most budgets are submitted at least six months before the current one is over. So, if organizations find innovative products they want to purchase and implement in the middle of the year, they will likely have to wait for more than one year to move forward.
The way OSF HealthCare has addressed this issue is by giving our Innovation Partnerships program its own annual operating budget. This allows us to apply those resources towards consulting, purchasing services and software licensing fees as we are made aware of new opportunities. We have also budgeted IT hours for Electronic Medical Record integration when necessary.
Along the way, we must have constant communication and collaboration with the OSF divisions that are executing new products. This ensures we have the time, money and resources to continue introducing innovative ideas into our system.
Ensuring the Successful Launch of Health Care Solutions
As I mentioned before, there are so many great products and services being offered to improve health care and reduce costs. However, we’ve refined our approach to selecting innovative products that help OSF utilize simulation to design novel solutions in health care, remove barriers to care for disadvantaged individuals, transform how care is delivered to seniors and expand access to care in ways we haven’t tried before. Technology and software are also chosen based on whether they apply to initiatives outlined in the OSF strategy.
Along those lines, the Innovation Partnership team has found that we won’t be successful implementing innovative ideas if we don’t have executive sponsors in charge of seeing these projects through for the entire organization. Our team identifies and promotes products and services to leaders overseeing different initiatives within OSF. We then manage the assessment, contracting, project planning, piloting and measurement of the project. The executive sponsor removes barriers to implementation and uses the data produced in pilots to successfully spread solutions across the Ministry.
Collaboration is Key
Outside of having executive sponsors to help implement innovative technology and services, it’s also important to have a team of collaborators to help choose what products will work best within the Ministry. My team and I are co-located with staff members working in performance improvement, healthcare analytics, project management, internal innovation and simulation as part of the overall OSF Innovation strategy. They are the perfect sounding board on the various products we see and help us accelerate the work we do with startup companies and entrepreneurs.
Thanks to our continually evolving Innovation Partnership process, we’ve been able to greatly reduce the time it takes to bring a new solution to scale. We now can identify ideas, vet them with subject matter experts, initiate the legal and IT review process and begin implementation/pilot planning within six weeks.
It goes to show that the newest technological advances are not the most important part of fixing the health care industry. Ensuring you have the infrastructure to assess and implement these products and services is the most crucial element of innovation.