There is a real need for innovation in health care delivery, as well as in medicine, to address related challenges of access, quality, and affordability through new and creative approaches. Health care environments must foster innovation, not just allowing it but actively encouraging it to happen anywhere and at every level in health care and medicine—from the laboratory, to the operating room, bedside, and clinics. This paper reviews the essential elements and environmental factors important for health-related innovation to flourish in academic health systems.
The authors maintain that innovation must be actively cultivated by teaching it, creating “space” for and supporting it, and providing opportunities for its implementation. The authors seek to show the importance of these three fundamental principles and how they can be implemented, highlighting examples from across the country and their own institution.
Health innovation cannot be relegated to a second-class status by the urgency of day-to-day operations, patient care, and the requirements of traditional research. Innovation needs to be elevated to a committed endeavor and become a part of an organization’s culture, particularly in academic health centers.