In our complex modern world, let alone in hypercomplex healthcare, there is a tendency to assume that everything has to be managed somehow by somebody at the highest level. Even health innovation is considered by many to be a management issue: governments opt to implement often highly centralized innovation politics, coded into law in much detail. Healthcare systems are creating—in some cases, huge—innovation budgets, and at the same time, they build equally massive bureaucracies to allocate this money.
Healthcare digitization is still often perceived as being an endeavour on the level of the individual healthcare system or nation state. While there is some truth in that, it is equally obvious that a global digital health market is evolving, with vast opportunities for IT companies, healthcare providers, med-tech, pharma giants and even charities who are courageous enough to think big.
Yet, while we want health innovation, we don’t really trust the innovators. Traditional rules have to be followed strictly, in healthcare more so than anywhere else. We don’t want to be surprised. We think we can manage innovation in a way that we can manage medical care. But we cannot. Innovation is not disease, innovators are not patients.
In this issue of HIMSS Insights, you will find a global panoply of innovation that did not happen because of centralized planning, but because innovators–individuals, medical institutions, even a regulatory agency–decided to not only talk about innovation, but to give it a go. What this issue also demonstrates is that innovation doesn’t necessarily equal start-up. It can happen at every level, as long as innovative minds get the possibility to be innovative. Innovation, we learn, is not so much about managing and allocating money, but about taking away obstacles.
Originally published February 5, 2019