September 24, 2015

Frugal Innovation in Healthcare

Kris Gösser
Kris Gösser

Datica Alumni — Former Chief Marketing Officer

Achieving a higher quality of patient care for more of the population at a significantly reduced cost is the ultimate dream of most healthcare systems. Innovation is the key to being able to provide that healthcare excellence but there are socioeconomic needs that need to be addressed first. The healthcare innovation model has been largely driven by copious amounts of research and development to construct new technologies and processes, which can prove to be very costly. Healthcare spending is already skyrocketing as more Americans are getting sicker, so just as there is a desire for disruptive technologies, a disruptive approach to innovation is warranted. Frugal innovation will be the approach that delivers more social and economic benefits while utilizing fewer resources and promoting affordability, sustainability, accessibility, and quality.

Frugal innovation, falling in sync with the industry’s transition from volume to value care, will mandate a preference towards simplicity over sophistication. Healthcare solutions that are easier to use are more accessible, demand little maintenance, and are less expensive. Sometimes the simplest ideas truly are the best. It pays to also consider what is already applicable in a patient’s present environment, so review what technologies and processes could potentially be repurposed to solve another existing need. This will allow you to compensate for what is scarce with what is abundant. Providers should be exercising their already existing resources, like mobile and satellite connectivity, to deliver care better, faster, and cheaper.

Public and private sectors of healthcare need to collaborate together to increase their community impact. Amalgamating knowledge and networks will allow for further reach into any endeavor. Healthcare pockets of excellence will stay just that, assisting a small portion of populations instead of providing support to those who could truly benefit from the advancements. Adopting a collaboration solution platform that will allow for higher engagement from professionals and patients alike to fix what needs fixing. Ultimately, co-operating between sectors will allow for frugal innovation to take place resulting in co-creation of sustainable and affordable health solutions that benefit a larger populace.

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