Managing Healthcare Innovation as a Design Process

Peter Jones Design for Care, Service Design, Strategic Innovation

Based on a talk for the Southern Ohio branch of the Project Management Institute (Healthcare group). Many thanks to PMI for their sponsorship. Healthcare innovation has been led by technology providers, almost entirely, over the period we consider relevant to “innovation” (1970’s – current). Innovation has been a supply-side approach, led by information technology (EMRs and Health IT platforms) and medical devices (ranging from user-controllable diffusion pumps to CAT machines). Only recently have clinical services become the focus of innovation, ranging from patient-centered care to new practice models (the ACO and PCMH) and business models. Yet even service innovations emerge from the supply side – just supply-side from inside the hospital instead of industry vendors. The hospital remains a highly hierarchical entity, managed as a top-down coordination of patient bodies in space and time. The patient’s individual desires and personal circles of care are not elicited for service innovation – they are surveyed for “patient satisfaction” with these service improvements.  That’s a huge difference. Internal innovation programs typically develop service proposals as process improvements, from a quality management perspective, and …