Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare




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The undeniable and rapid changes in today’s political, social, economic, and environmental atmosphere have led to the emergence of disruptive innovation and have inspired people to create opportunities for change. Particularly in the healthcare industry, companies are beginning to show commitment to this change by developing creative strategies, embracing new technologies, and taking risks.

What is disruptive innovation in the first place?  This term was coined by Clayton Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and describes innovation that “transforms an existing market or creates a new market by making processes simpler and improving access,” (Becker’s Hospital Review). Disruptive innovation strategies have become common in business settings as firms seek unparalleled differentiation. Consider Tesla, a vehicle company that completely changed the way we think about urban mobility. Tesla has entered a new market with extremely disruptive technology, development, manufacturing, and user experiences. Instead of following trends, the company utterly broke the mold by creating an electric vehicle that is powered by advanced lithium ion batteries.

Healthcare companies can learn a lot from disruptive innovators such as Tesla. According to Dr. Jason Hwang, a University of Michigan-trained internal medicine physician, “disruptive innovation in the health care sector means two things in particular: 1. The transference of skills from highly trained but also expensive personnel to more affordable providers, including technology-based care. 2. The shift away from traditional health care venues like hospitals into clinics and office settings, and, in some cases, into patients’ own homes.” This type of innovation is important for healthcare providers to consider when faced with direct changes in public health policy, employment needs, delivery models, cost structures, and technology.

One healthcare company that has truly embraced disruptive innovation is Sarrell Dental & Eye Centers. Changemakers’ Kristie Wang writes, “Sarrell Dental & Eye Centers has done something that many in the U.S. health industry thought was impossible—providing dental care to children covered by Medicaid, while running a sustainable business and lowering the cost of care to the government.” Crossing boundaries in healthcare was at the forefront of Sarrell Dental’s strategies to providing exceptional services to lower-income patients. This is one of many healthcare facilities that is paving their own way and creating new opportunities that yield value.

The key to differentiation and continuous improvement in the healthcare industry is innovation. It is a crucial time for facilities to rethink traditional practices and begin to drive transformation that ultimately creates new opportunities worthy of pursuit. Can hospitals and healthcare professionals begin to disruptively innovate? How will this affect the industry as a whole?

Somnia Anesthesia has proven to show a true commitment to innovation. With a team of experienced healthcare professionals, Somnia has created new and different management strategies to accelerate innovation. Somnia’s white paper “Bending the Healthcare Cost Curve Toward Improved Anesthesia Value,” describes how partnering with an anesthesia team that closely examines and leverages input and throughput opportunities help bend the healthcare cost curve toward improved anesthesia value. This is just one example of how Somnia is differentiating itself in the dynamic healthcare environment of today. To learn more about Somnia’s latest innovations, visit our website.

Can you offer other examples, in healthcare or other industries, of disruptive innovation? What do you see as obstacles to disruptive innovation in today’s healthcare marketplace? Let us know your opinions by adding a comment below.

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