Most people would agree that the healthcare industry has not been, shall we say . . .at the forefront of change when it comes to adopting innovative solutions and technologies.

But here’s a question for you:

Do you think healthcare leaders have a moral duty to innovate and implement change?

That’s the argument Sachin H. Jain makes in his deeply thought-provoking article, “The health care innovation bubble.”

According to Jain, when healthcare leaders move sluggishly to implement changes that they KNOW will improve the value of care, then there’s an ethical obligation to pick up the pace. And he makes a strong case.

Jain observes that the healthcare industry accepts the fact that it’s behind the curve:

“Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable in healthcare to have change management timelines that stretch from days, to weeks, to months, to years for things that we already know work. Somewhere along the way on the front lines of health care delivery, we convinced ourselves that change is necessarily slow.”

He explains that sluggish transformation is potentially harmful, even unethical:

“But when I put on my clinical hat, there is actually an ethical dimension to our pace—namely that if we take too long to implement changes to health care delivery that we know will benefit patients, we are withholding necessary improvements of care. We must push forward our best new ideas to transform care at scale, because it is the right and ethical thing to do for patients.”

And he argues that to speed healthcare improvements, we need to shift to a more progressive mindset:

“This mindset shift requires a culture that enables, allows for, and even rewards a healthy disdain for the status quo. But many organizations and their leaders instinctively hold on to the status quo because it is what made them successful previously.”

At Jellyfish Health, we observe this progressive mindset in the hospitals and health systems we serve. Meadows Health, for example, illustrates a powerful use case of a hospital pushing through change barriers to upend the status quo.

Mike Hagan, vice president of revenue cycle operations at Meadows Health, understands that patients are frustrated with their healthcare experiences. “As technology advances, they see convenience growing in all aspects of life, yet healthcare remains behind the curve,” he explains. “Our vision at Meadows is for patients to have a 21st century experience with their healthcare.”

In its quest to reimagine its patient experience, Meadows partnered with Jellyfish Health to implement a real-time, omni-channel solution that addresses touchpoints throughout the entire patient experience. The leadership team at Meadows sees the modern platform as a win-win for the hospital and for its patients.

“One of the most important aspects of Jellyfish’s solution is how it enables people to interact with healthcare,” says Alan Kent, CEO of Meadows Health. “Jellyfish makes our interaction with patients simpler and more transparent, which benefits the organization as well as the patient.”

According to Jain, the timing is right for leaders interested in transforming American healthcare because for the first time . . .

  • “There is broad recognition of our deep quality problems and the long road ahead to improve on them.”
  • “We have health information technology and payment instruments with the ability to support system transformation.”
  • “We have better talent that is turning its gaze towards changing the health care system.”

With that in mind, let’s circle back to the question that kicked off this post: Do you believe healthcare leaders have a moral duty to innovate and change?

And just to get your wheels cranking even more, here are three questions Jain poses in his article, which are great starting points for discussion:

  1. What are the obligations of those of us who exist within the change layer?
  2. How can we make the change layer more impactful in reality?
  3. How can we not waste this special moment in history where so many stars seem to be aligning?