The case for innovation in healthcare is clear; the sector is struggling due to increased demand and funding pressures; the arrival of new technologies can offer opportunities to better cope with these pressures.
However, the health and social care system can struggle to manage change when it comes to digital transformation, and when Trusts do find a solution that works, the NHS finds spreading innovation challenging. A recent report by The King’s Fund found that the fragmentation of the NHS makes it hard to share what works.
However, research into the diffusion of innovation in the US found nine essential strategies for effectively spreading a large-scale system transformation.
- Develop aims that are clear and make the criteria for failure obvious.
- Introduce incentives for adoption which reflect the diversity of interests in the workforce.
- Support staff by removing barriers that arise during the scaling.
- Focus on the people who are affected by the change, whether it be patients or staff, and adapt the change accordingly.
- Invest in change management and bring clinicians into the fold of large, complex changes.
- Test innovations while they are being scaled up and adjust according to this testing.
- Find ways of collecting data on the impact of innovation and then use this to improve it.
- Try to understand how contextual and organisational factors may be affecting the implementation of innovation.
- Invest in understanding new methods for spreading learning and best practice.