Innovation in Care Transitions: A Guide to Break Down Barriers, Increase Success

By Marco Smit

There are, unfortunately, many ways for care transition innovation companies to fail at achieving large-scale adoption among hospitals. Making smart choices (e.g. pilot / evidence strategy), having realistic expectations (e.g. 12-18 months innovation adoption cycles), and learning from the experiences from others can improve the odds of becoming a trusted partner in care transitions for many hospitals. Health 2.0 Advisors released a report at the mHealth Summit in Washington D.C. yesterday that aims to bridge key gaps between hospitals that want to adopt care transitions innovations and the young companies that are developing these innovations. The report can be downloaded here: Innovations In Care Transitions.

I run Health 2.0 Advisors, Health 2.0’s Innovation Analytics and Acceleration business unit. We help organizations navigate/make sense of the – often ‘noisy’ – innovation landscape. The ‘Acceleration’ part of our work is all about helping those organizations who want to innovate find the right emerging innovation companies to start working with them.

As I mentioned during my presentation at the mHealth Summit yesterday, this report synthesizes barriers to adoption of such innovation in hospitals, lessons learned from those who succeeded, and shares information about important areas of need/opportunity for technology companies going forward.

This report is based on a project done for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, for which Health 2.0 Advisors interviewed, surveyed, and conducted focus groups with more than 100 hospital executives (e.g. CIOs, CMIOs), clinicians, technology company leaders and representatives from other health related organizations.

So, what are some key findings from this project?

1) Targeting the right hospitals is critical. Interviews with those who succeeded, those who failed, and those who were trying to transition from failure to success all made it very clear that:

  • Innovation adoption for care transitions is hard and often takes 12-18 months
  • If a hospitals is preoccupied with other performance improvement needs, this period will be longer and it will be exceedingly hard to develop the required multi-stakeholder engagement to succeed
  • The report includes tips on how to identify hospitals for whom care transition innovation is a top priority to address now/soon

2)  Staircase of cumulative evidence framework: Hospitals don’t buy technology features; they adopt technology based on evidence that it works in similar settings elsewhere. Many technology companies focus on improving or adding product features when they hit roadblocks in acceptance by hospitals. But the key is to develop the evidence that hospitals rely on to make their innovation adoption choices.

  • Health 2.0 Advisors developed the Staircase of evidence framework to make that evidence development process smarter and more efficient for young companies, who can easily fall prey to ‘death by a thousand custom pilots’ as one CEO called it, if there is no strategy to the pilots/evidence development.
  • The top of the staircase (demonstrating that your technology’s success can be replicated in many different clinical settings) is most difficult to achieve, but the key to reaching large scale.

3) The next 1-3 years are all about data: We researched current and future use of technologies to address care transitions and it is clear that hospitals have invested significant efforts in optimizing internal processes (incl. standardized checklists for patient dismissal) in recent years. But what hospitals are most focused on next are a) shared care plans across different settings and providers, b) ways to integrate patient data as means to better understand the patient population, and c) predictive analytics to better target patients at higher risk of experiencing adverse events.

These are just some highlights from the report. There is much more to be discovered in the report about how hospitals search for innovation externally, how to develop that smart evidence strategy, etc., etc.  You can download the report here: Innovations In Care Transitions. And feel free to share any questions or feedback you have on the report with us on marco@health2con.com of course.

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