Insider offers view of health innovation

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Blogging for the Harvard Business Review, Simon Stevens (chairman of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization) seeks to explain why the field of health care is so agonizingly slow to adopt innovation, whether it be 15 years and counting for e-mail communication or several generations for scurvy-preventing limes. Without spoiling Stevens well-chosen analogies and explanations, I can say he makes a case that it comes down to three factors:

  • The labor intensive nature of health care
  • Failure to spread organizational innovation
  • Barriers to new entrants in care delivery

To Stevens’ way of thinking, there is one group positioned to overcome those barriers and push the system forward: Health plans. UnitedHealth and its competitors have the data, platforms and connections to become major change agents in the field of health care delivery, as well as the incentive to put it all to work improving outcomes and decreasing costs.

1 thought on “Insider offers view of health innovation

  1. John T. James

    Suitable innovation in healthcare will come when patients are given the rights they need to make informed choices about their care – ie. smart consumers. If my doctor is not using IT decision tools, can’t be reached by email, has not demonstrated competency to any cognizant body in years, and cannot give me the information I need to make difficult decisions about my health, then I am not going to keep him as my doctor for long. Until we patients get some rights, the profit-driven medical industry isn’t going to do any substantive innovation, unless of course it leads to higher incomes.

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