The main purpose behind any health infrastructure is that it helps us to live better, in other words, improves our wellbeing. We wanted to show the variety of issues the term healthcare encompasses: pharmaceuticals, eHealth, blockchain security for online patient records, global ‘wellness’, and encouraging innovation. We also look at wellness monitors that enable professionals to keep an eye on how we are feeling.
Innovations are redefining our world. There’s not a single industry where innovations have not revolutionised products and services and transformed the experience for its customers. This is very true in health, and our current healthcare system is being shaped and reshaped by new and innovative ways of delivering better and more affordable healthcare. Healthcare has historically been a primary beneficiary of innovations in other industries. Today, aerial drones and medical robots make it possible to bring medical services and supplies closer to patients in emergency situations and have the ability to reach victims who require immediate medical attention within minutes. 3D- printed devices can provide lower- cost and highly customised medical technology products that can be tailored to suit the physiological needs of individual patients. These high-tech innovations are inspiring and ground-braking, but innovations don’t have to happen in the R&D labs and technology alone cannot solve the world’s healthcare problems. Healthy innovations should be less about the recipes and more about its nutritious value, less about how it works and more about it helps. Healthcare innovations should be patient centric and should put the “care” back into healthcare. Healthcare innovation can take on three different forms. Product innovation seeks to create new medical instruments or devices that will improve the clinical outcome. For example, a dissolvable metallic stent was recently introduced to limit complications following heart surgery. Process innovations seeks to improve the method by which a healthcare service or treatment is administered. Health portals and apps allow newly diagnosed patients to improve their outcomes
by connecting with and learning from others who've gone before them. Business model innovation involves the introduction of new plans with horizontal or vertical integration of separate healthcare organisations or activities. Offering low-cost, highdeductible insurance, for example, give members greater control over their personal healthcare spending. Innovations seek to create more convenient, more efective, and less expensive healthcare service while increasingly empowering healthcare consumers. Healthcare innovations are mainly driven by the realisation of a persistent problem or an opportunity to address specific needs for members and patients. The seeds for healthcare innovations are usually planted during an endless process of bouncing - and often colliding - ideas during brainstorming sessions sparking a concerted resilient cycle of testing, validation and evaluation before materialising (Fig. 1). From idea stage to conceptualisation all the way to technology transfer and commercialisation, innovation actors can arise from the provider side, the regulator, research institutions, funding institutions or a combination of the above united behind the goal of exploring the space of the possible, and developing an innovation that solves a chronic problem while creating value for stakeholders across the healthcare sector.
Reducing the cost of healthcare while enhancing patient experience has spurred many innovations around the world. One superb example was in a national healthcare systems that had moved to digital health ( or E- Health), analysis of healthcare expenditure identified travel for routine follow up from neighboring villages and rural areas amongst pregnant women to be a major cost burden on the subsidised healthcare system. A local startup soon recognised this opportunity to harness technology on smart phones to facilitate a daily reporting of vital signs of those pregnant women. The app alerts doctors to cases where risk of pregnancy complications are likely. Much of the work went into designing a simple and easy to use app that provided optimal user experience from the pregnant women's side, as well as an effective interface with streaming data and intelligent reporting capabilities for doctors to provide medical advices and preparations for delivery. The startup was able to gain sponsorship by the regulator, attract funding by international investors and endorsement from the medical community. At the end, the system made it easier for pregnant and doctors to connect, created cost saving for the healthcare provider, and furnished the medical community with lots of data for clinical research. In general, innovation requires a set of enablers that can propel innovations from idea to realisation to deployment to mass adoption. Here we list the top three characteristics of an innovative group or organisation:
An organisation that seeks to innovate needs to consistently encourage its team to think in a non- traditional manner in order to unleash the full potential of its creative minds and bring their ideas to the table. This has often proven challenging in organisations where the risk of deviating from best practices can be costly if not managed properly. In healthcare, many innovations disrupt the classic pay-for-service approach and drive pay-for-quality as a part of an overall movement towards accountable care principles.
No organisations will fall short of ideas, but innovating organisations need to consistently qualify, rank and prioritise these ideas before testing them in the lab. To thrive with innovations, organisations must not only allow for experimentation to take its course but must also accept some margin of error and show commitment to learning from its lessons. This approach is fundamental to medical and pharmaceutical companies where experimentation is institutionalised as part of R& D - but other organisations are increasingly adopting the same principles.
Rather than simply acknowledging innovation as and when it occurs on an ad hoc basis, organisations can drive innovation on a constant basis by creating a culture. This means highlighting what significant cultural changes need to be made in a company to help innovation become a more regular and natural occurrence.
Figure 1. An Example of a Healthcare Innovation Process