April 16, 2024
April 16, 2024

Demystifying Healthcare Innovation: 4 Lessons on Driving Meaningful Change

Innovation is a frequently used buzzword in healthcare. Despite its widespread usage within our industry, achieving tangible value and impactful outcomes often proves challenging.

Let’s start by asking: Why does healthcare innovation matter?

Healthcare has a track record of prioritizing short-term gains over long-term innovation. It’s why U.S. healthcare expenses now account for almost 20% of U.S. GDP, substantially higher than that of similar nations.

Despite this high spend, Americans have worse health outcomes than their global counterparts. We’re not getting what we’re paying for—and the results are devastating.

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To get different outcomes, we must act differently.

Innovation is the best path to improving care and lowering costs by:

  • Improving the patient experience and empowering consumers to engage with their care plans

  • Aligning payer and provider incentives through value-based care

  • Creating the infrastructure to deliver care in the home and other lower-cost settings

  • Redesigning the healthcare workforce of the future

  • Responsibly developing and implementing AI tools to drive efficiency and quality

These challenges will only continue to grow in the coming years. Innovation that delivers real, sweeping change is non-negotiable.

Achieving meaningful innovation is far from easy.

Structural barriers to change are plentiful, including siloed business objectives, government regulations, legacy technology infrastructure, entrenched fee-for-service payment models and misaligned incentives.

Equally troubling is a lack of trust among key stakeholders who worry that innovations will erode their current standing within the healthcare ecosystem.
An effective approach to innovation must address these barriers. We must build companies and partnerships with incumbent players that drive transformation over time.

In the right environment, innovation flourishes.

Despite the historical barriers, innovation can blossom in the right conditions. As we’ve built dozens of successful companies, we’ve learned how to foster those conditions:

Lesson 1: Make innovation a strategic priority.

Successful innovation starts at the top. Leaders must create a culture of transformation and shared organizational goals. Then, they must put in place the processes, technology and people to support new initiatives—including an internal business owner and champion who will set the pace for others to follow.

Lesson 2: Drive innovation from multiple directions.

Healthcare leaders often wonder whether to drive innovation from inside or outside the organization. The answer is both.

Experimentation outside an organization—in tandem with an experienced partner—brings fresh perspectives and solutions that aren’t tied to the status quo. Experimentation within an organization leverages existing assets and team skill sets, bringing operational expertise to aid in execution and commercialization.

Once healthcare systems have a viable concept, they must create a path to integration within their organizations. Concepts should directly align with an organization's priorities and goals, such as performance and operational improvement, royalties, long-term equity, and more.

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Lesson 3: Modulate the intensity of innovation to drive meaningful change.

Some stakeholders try to innovate too much, too soon. Others are excited about the idea of making major changes but only have the people and capital resources to drive minor incremental cost efficiencies and near-term gains.

The road to creating meaningful change runs down the middle of these two extremes. Stakeholders need a certain level of readiness to adopt and scale change, all while balancing budgetary and staffing commitments.

For example, while a health system might want to build and commercialize an algorithm to identify patients who need certain interventions, they might have to settle for hiring one person to do that job at a much smaller scale.

Companies must continue to invest into driving improvements internally, however small, to be well-positioned to deploy large-scale reform.

Lesson 4: Breakthrough innovation requires rigorous intellectual honesty.

Healthcare innovation becomes tangible when it creates value for stakeholders and customers. Every new concept must go through a rigorous vetting process to unlock that value.

At Redesign Health, our synergistic approach begins with a deep dive into the status quo. We evaluate incumbent stakeholder relationships to identify fixed and variable dynamics. We then develop hypotheses around the best way to drive innovation forward.

“We evaluate every nuance with brutal honesty,” says Neil Patel, Head of New Ventures at Redesign Health. “This approach allows us to sidestep some of the common reasons startups fail, including capital constraints, poor product-market fit or the wrong founding team. Our commitment to intellectual honesty also empowers us to learn from our mistakes and build a stronger portfolio.”

Innovate alongside us.

Tackling the most difficult organizational challenges in healthcare takes a multi-stakeholder approach. With that in mind, we’re bringing our expertise to healthcare incumbents. You can tap into our insights and infrastructure and innovate alongside us.

1. Partner with companies from our portfolio. Collaborate with one of the 60+ healthcare companies we’ve built at Redesign Health. These companies are generating impact across the industry.

2. Build a solution. We believe that healthcare innovation comes from inside our industry. You can partner with us to build solutions together—both inside and outside of the Redesign studio—for broader commercialization.

3. Deploy our expertise. Our unrivaled platform and ecosystem addresses the unique barriers to change in our industry. Work with us to custom-scope innovation projects that overcome industry challenges and meet your needs.

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Partnership in action

Explore just a few of the impactful innovation partnerships we’ve launched with stakeholders.

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Take action today

Reach out to us to learn how we can work together to transform the future of healthcare. Together we can kick start your journey towards impactful change.