Greetings from New Orleans and the first day of The 2017 OPEN MINDS Strategy and Innovation Institute! This morning we kicked off the institute with a discussion on innovation. Why? Whether you’re an executive with a provider organization, care management organization, or health plan, innovation is a key component to future organizational success.
By definition, innovation is the process of translating a new idea into a service that creates value – and doing it with speed. Never has it been more important, particularly for organizations focused on complex consumers, to be ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative practices – there is growing price sensitivity and growing competition to serve this consumer group.
The big question – what is the state of innovation in the health and human service market today? This morning we released the preliminary results from The 2017 OPEN MINDS National Innovation Survey: Innovation Adoption Among Specialty Provider Organizations, which looked at innovation in three categories – program innovations (such as primary care medical homes or hospital diversion programs); treatment innovations (such as peer support programs, or the use of medication-assisted treatment in addiction treatment); and technology innovations (such as telehealth or eCBT). The survey shows that the most common innovations currently being utilized by specialist provider organizations include peer support specialists (51% of organizations surveyed); recovery self-management tools (37.8%); injectable medications for SMI (36.2%); test messaging and email communication with consumers (34.7%); and collocation with primary care (32.7%).
But, if we take a look at three separate markets – mental health, addictions, and intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD ) – the adoption of innovation varies.
From my perspective, there is relatively slow adoption on a few things that should be standard across the field. Only half of organizations are even considering, much less implementing, basic technology innovations, like texting and telehealth. Though new treatment approaches—like first episode psychosis programs and eCBT—are being used, they are not gaining a lot of traction among mental health provider organizations. Only about half of addiction treatment provider organizations are embracing medication assisted treatment (MAT).
To me, this says that the “science to service” gap is still significant (see Why Is It So Hard To Get Health & Human Service Organizations To Try Something New?). How do you overcome this challenge? My general advice when it comes to innovation is that executive teams need to make consideration of innovation a key piece of their strategy. There are key questions to consider:
- How can we use new innovative technology or practice to improve “value” (either lowering cost or improving performance) for our customers?
- What innovations are our competitors likely to adopt – and how will that improve their competitive advantage?
- What innovations should our organization invest in?
- How do we speed the adoption of those innovations?
The future will belong to the organizations that set their sights on their customers and using innovation to improve their performance in ways that are meaningful to those customers. The key is for leaders to create the organization that is both willing and able to innovate – and to do it quickly with a premium placed on speed and adaptability. “Agile innovation” is what’s needed for the challenges ahead.
Stayed tuned in the coming months when we release the complete results from The 2017 OPEN MINDS National Innovation Survey. And for more from New Orleans, follow our live coverage of The 2017 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute on Twitter @openmindscircle – #OMInnovation.