Innovation in a Time of Crisis: Is Healthcare Committed?
Innovation in healthcare has generally come from the inside. Take penicillin, for example — it was discovered in a medical laboratory. We are now entering a stage of healthcare transformation where multiple external entities are the key drivers of innovation, from the outside in — which, while daunting and unsettling, will lead to the greatest advances for care delivery we have ever seen.
While major disruptive events can impede progress, they often plant the seeds for future growth. The 2008 financial crisis, for example, opened the door for companies such as Airbnb and Uber1 to help customers save money and pool resources. In other words, a crisis created the tipping point that led the way to mass implementation of innovative technologies, products and services.
Some say that COVID-19 is the tipping point for healthcare innovation. Others point out that healthcare is already returning to pre-COVID practices. While the long-term impacts on medicine are still unknown, healthcare executives and decision-makers should be careful not to undervalue this opportunity to innovate in an industry where significant change is rarely seen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has committed the world to pause. Economies slowed, businesses shut down and routines changed. Industries were forced to immediately adapt to a new normal. Supply chains, for example, had to become more localized, with greater emphasis on reliant rail and road transportation.
Retailers expanded online platforms to meet demands via operational changes changes in selling, shipping and advertising –including using their stores as satellite warehouses to fulfill online orders. Businesses that previously were reluctant to promote remote working had to temporarily close and implement work-from-home practices. Now many of these businesses are developing plans to permanently shrink in-office staff and space, given an increase in productivity and cost-savings opportunity.