Managing Innovation in Healthcare

What is innovation? And what makes an innovative healthcare solution? The definition has evolved so much over time, becoming more and more complex. At Xsolis, since innovation is the foundation of what we do, the idea of bringing innovation back down to size, to its central meaning, may be just what is needed in order to set a successful path forward in healthcare.

As Xsolis looks toward its own future, we know that we must positively affect all areas of healthcare innovation. Our goal is to pursue innovation everywhere.

Let’s look at the innovation in healthcare definition.

What is Innovation?

Google “innovation definition” and the options astound:

  • Innovation is change that creates a new dimension of performance. 
  • Innovation is the commercialization of creativity. 
  • Innovation is significant positive change. 
  • Innovation is the creation, development and implementation of a new product, process, or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness, or competitive advantage.

Phew. One word, many options. Staring at the search results, I realized something: people are trying to innovate what innovation means. While all in the same vein, each option grows more complicated.

So let’s keep it simple: Merriam-Webster defines innovation as “a new idea, method, or device.” Simple enough. Where does that take us? How do we define innovation in healthcare?

The Fresh and New

Innovation is often misperceived: “bolt of lightning” epiphanies, scientists toiling alone, overnight billion-dollar valuations. But these types of innovation are rare. In my experience, innovation takes the work of a team, not an individual, and it’s incremental, building on the work and ideas of others to create something better. 

We need to fundamentally change the innovation process so that we can measure innovation, be it in the form of a business model, a new medical technology, an existing product, or even hospital design. Nothing’s off the table.  

When I began my healthcare career, I did not have a formal healthcare background, something which I believe helped me notice the inefficiencies, the challenges, the opportunities. By noticing, I became motivated to find solutions. That motivation led me to eventually found Xsolis, which I framed as an organization committed to rooting out the things that held healthcare back.   

This vantage led me to seek out others who thought differently – clinicians, data scientists, engineers – to build a team that not only thought innovatively for themselves but was willing to hear from experts in the healthcare field and make their visions happen.

Where We Are Now

Transformative people + transformative times = innovation. COVID-19 accelerated previous trends and also exposed new opportunities for change. This year alone, I’ve seen payer and provider adoption accelerate rapidly: for instance, Xsolis’ ability to connect provider clients to payer clients like Humana for a seamless approach to utilization management was essential for member management earlier in the year. And with adoption across multiple states and healthcare organizations, those organizations are looking to chip away administrative work to better focus on care and outcomes. 

Many ideas gained traction: our provider clients asked for ways to better manage discharges and Length of Stay. We delivered this summer. Our payer and provider clients asked for the ability to automate clear inpatient determinations using Xolis analytics. 

We call that process – which has been proven and adopted – Precision UM. Clients asked for analytics to manage UM for their pediatric populations. We delivered. These ideas are made possible by our team, certainly, but also by the visionary healthcare leaders who make those innovations come to life in their organizations.

What’s Next?

I know, in the beginning, I called out “innovation” as a buzzword. But in no way do I want to negate the power of the word. After all, innovation is what brought us to this point in healthcare, especially utilization management. But our work does not stop at the idea, it continues through execution and output. 

While the healthcare industry has historically been slow to change, in 2020 we learned not only can the industry change, but it can do so quickly. We also saw there was a need for that change, as COVID-19 exposed gaps and offered new opportunities.   

To continue to innovate well into the future, we need you: your partnership, your continual feedback, your vision. There is a better way to do things. It starts with an idea. It starts with you.