ConferencesHealth Care

The Healthcare Innovation Management Scan

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and Organizing for Innovation  developed a Health Care Innovation Management Scan to help healthcare organizations gauge their innovation efforts and identify priority areas to strengthen their innovation performance. How prepared are you to lead the health care of the future?

Healthcare innovation

Change as the new constant

Healthcare organizations face major challenges, including:

  • Value-based care
  • Patient-centered care
  • Population healthcare management
  • Stringent readmission goals.

With healthcare changes being the new normal, we wondered how healthcare organizations can optimally meet the challenges such change requires – what innovation management practices do healthcare organizations need to effectively deal with these challenges?

Innovation management refers to the system that governs and manages all types of innovation activity within an organization. The purpose of innovation management is to ensure productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency of the innovation processes. Quality and process improvement, clinical and translational research, drug or device development, information technology, mHealth and other technology innovation projects are all part of a health care organization’s innovation portfolio.

The innovation management scan

Although not one healtcare organization is the same, our hope is that the scan provokes useful ideas for improving the innovation function in your organization. The goal is to help organizations like yours become more efficient and effective at creating the future of health care.

The scan is divided in the following sections:

  • Strategic intent and performance: understand your organization’s strategic intent and the perceived impact of your innovation efforts on healthcare related outcomes.
  • Process capabilities: assess your ability to address the strategic challenges, generate new ideas, develop the best solutions, and get the most value from your innovation processes.
  • Organizational capabilities: assess your organization’s capability to execute innovation projects.
  • Infrastructure: understand the support structures in place to manage innovation in your organization.

Your intent matters

In the infographic below, you will find an overview of the results for the 83 hospitals who  participated in the survey as part of the innovation management sessions held at IHI’s 27th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care.

I understand all hospitals are unique. Despite that uniqueness, factors underlying innovation management are pretty similar. For instance, there are no major differences between the average scores based on hospital type; that is between hospital systems, general hospitals, or teaching hospitals. However, that does not mean that your organization is not unique, nor that you don’t need to customize your innovation processes to your organizational needs, just that underlying factors are similar and explain much of the success of the innovation process.

You hospital’s uniqueness comes into play in terms of what types of innovation fit the overall goals of the organization and harnessing the power of your clinicians in an effective innovation process.

Not surprisingly, strategy matters. Hospitals with a clear innovation strategy score higher on all process and organizational capabilities, infrastructure items, and score higher on innovation performance.  A clear innovation strategy means that the organization is innovative and growth-oriented, searches for new markets and new growth opportunities, and encourages risk-taking.

The value of state-of-the-art innovation abilities

Engaging clinicians in your innovation process is a must. They face challenges and see opportunities to improve patient outcomes that are invisible from the outside. They possess the social capital and expertise required to get other clinicians onboard new processes that enhance performance.

Yet, clinicians’ time is a costly resource. Therefore, you need processes and practices that ensure clinician time isn’t wasted on bureaucracy, but channeled into practical solutions to the challenges facing the modern hospital.

So, how can organizations improve their innovation capabilities?

First, provide structure to innovation activities. Innovation requires deliberate effort, dedicated resources, and a tolerance for trial and error. These are not are easy to do in health care settings – there is often no time, no resources, and, of course, legitimate concerns about the potential outcomes of failed experiments. We know, though, that it is possible to manage these challenges to positive effect.

Second, use the scan to find the process and organizational capabilities and infrastructure items where you score lowest. Those are the areas where improving your capabilities will pay off most.

Third, process capabilities are like a value chain, with the weakest link determining your overall productivity. You should therefore aim to be equally proficient in idea generation, development and implementation to ensure a consistent transition from ideas to practice.

Fourth, your organization challenges are undoubtedly unique. Look for inspiration to address your challenges by investigating key differentiators between those with and without a clear innovation strategy and top and bottom performers from our sample. These differences are easy to spot in the infographic below and guide you on ways to improve your innovation outcomes.

Implications for your organization?

Organizations that have excellent innovation capabilities have the ability to act upon new opportunities in a timely, effective, and efficient manner – a major advantage in today’s healthcare environment where change is one of the few constants.

Involving clinicians in your innovation process is difficult without appropriate innovation process and organizational capabilities and infrastructure. And, without the engagement of physicians, it is difficult to develop new approaches to healthcare that work and that other clinicians will adopt.

Where does your hospital stand?

Take the scan. The scan gives you an individualized report that shows areas where you’re already strong and provides insights to improve your innovation performance.

The full report of all 83 hospitals gives useful hints on specific aspects that will enable you to strengthen your innovation capabilities and improve the output of your innovation efforts.


Organizing for Innovation | professional services

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