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Thinking Differently: Catalyzing Innovation in Healthcare and Beyond

Samet, Kenneth A. FACHE; Smith, Mark S.

Frontiers of Health Services Management: December 2016 - Volume 33 - Issue 2 - p 3–15

Convenience, value, access, and choice have become the new expectations of consumers seeking care. Incorporating these imperatives and navigating an expanded competitive landscape are necessary for the success of healthcare organizations—today and in the future—and require thinking differently than in the past.

Innovation must be a central strategy for clinical and business operations to be successful. However, the currently popular concept of innovation is at risk of losing its power and meaning unless deliberate and focused action is taken to define it, adopt it, embrace it, and embed it in an organization's culture. This article details MedStar Health's blueprint for establishing the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2), which involved recognizing the sharpened need for innovation, creating a single specific entity to catalyze innovation across the healthcare organization and community, discovering the untapped innovation energy already residing in its employee base, and moving nimbly into the white space of possibility.

Drawing on MedStar's experience with MI2, we offer suggestions in the following areas for implementing an innovation institute in a large healthcare system:

  • Three principles for operation
  • Four organizational considerations for adoption
  • Four ways to measure value
  • Four simple rules to guide creation

Three principles for operationFour organizational considerations for adoptionFour ways to measure valueFour simple rules to guide creation We offer healthcare and business leaders a playbook for identifying and unleashing innovation in their organizations, at a time when innovation is at an increased risk of being misunderstood or misdirected but remains absolutely necessary for healthcare systems and organizations to flourish in the future.

Kenneth A. Samet, FACHE, is president and CEO of MedStar Health in Columbia, Maryland. Mark S. Smith, MD, is chief innovation officer and director of the MedStar Institute for Innovation at MedStar Health.

© 2016 Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives
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