The 25 Top Innovations
We asked readers to vote for up to 10 innovations. These are the 25 that garnered the most votes, including storefront healthcare, bionic limbs and primary-care access.
1. Electronic health records
Digitizing healthcare information made it easier to store, share and analyze data.
3. The internet
It empowers health consumers to investigate a condition or medical question, putting them on a more equal footing with healthcare professionals.
2. Accountable care and population health
The spread of accountable care organizations and population health models is aligning incentives for providers, payers and health consumers.
4. Big data
It enables the management of populations through analysis of large databases comprising clinical, claims, outcomes, socioeconomic and demographic data.
5. Stem cell therapy
The discovery that stem cells may be able to treat and prevent diseases could revolutionize care for cancer, neurodegenerative disorders and other diseases.
6. Genomics supporting cancer treatment
Analyzing tumor genetics enables the development of targeted cancer drugs and is ushering in the era of less toxic “precision” medicine.
7. Automated DNA sequencing
Rapid DNA sequencing methods made it faster and more cost-effective to obtain genetic information.
8. Wearable technologies
Biosensors can record information in real time and allow clinicians to remotely monitor health status.
9. Primary-care access
From storefront clinics to concierge practices, patients are choosing clinicians offering easier access, more time and lower cost.
10. 3-D printing
3-D visualization promises to improve the precision of medical procedures with anatomically accurate reproductions.
11. Automating evidence-based protocols
Clinical algorithms take operational best practices and automate them using digital tools to ensure consistency and reduce variation.
12. Laparoscopic surgery
Minimally invasive surgical techniques reduced recovery time and shortened hospital stays.
13. Mobile provider-patient communication
The doctor is always in via web, mobile app, text messaging, email and voice messaging technology.
14. MRI technology
The introduction of MRI technology enabled detailed images of organs without using radiation.
15. Robotic surgery
Robotic surgical tools allow more precision during complex procedures.
16. Cardiovascular implants
Stents, valves, defibrillators, pacemakers and other implants continue to transform cardiovascular care.
17. Medication adherence
Serving as an electronic pill box, digital technologies monitor patients’ adherence to their drug regimens.
18. Lean process improvement
Lean includes the use of multidisciplinary teams, outcomes measurement and constant improvement to eliminate errors, streamline processes and improve safety and care quality.
19. Storefront healthcare
Consumers have gained expanded access to non-emergency care at convenient sites based on their schedule, not their physician’s.
20. Automating clinical tasks
Automating routine tasks helps enable clinicians to practice at the top of their license.
21. Automated post-discharge follow-up
Delivering personalized discharge instructions online, on mobile devices or by phone has improved the likelihood of patient care plan adherence.
22. Bionic limbs
New advances in prosthetic limbs allow amputees to lead increasingly normal lives.
The ability to securely send images outside the hospital has allowed physicians to consult with peers or outsource work during off-hours.
24. Post-acute patient placement
Use of devices with clinical algorithms that automatically determine patient placement based on insurance, clinical criteria, bed availability and patient preference.
25. Polymerase chain reaction
The ability to amplify a DNA target allows for earlier diagnosis of infectious diseases and cancer.