Imitation Can Be Better than Innovation

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)
Imitation Can Be Better than Innovation

These days, it seems that healthcare is all about innovation: the newest drug, the latest technology, or the next advance.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with exploring the cutting edge – regardless of industry. However, the authors of a recent article in Harvard Business Review argue there’s value to be found in imitating others. The authors, Contra Costa Medical Center CEO Anna M. Roth and Press Ganey Chief Medical Officer Thomas H. Lee, M.D., believe that imitation is a faster way to get better.

We’re taught in school that plagiarizing is wrong, so maybe that’s one reason imitation as a concept hasn’t taken off. But if your organization is going to continue to improve, you need to look far and wide for what is working at other organizations, at other health systems and in other industries.

A great place to start is the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). In addition to national meetings, you can attend webinars and other educational events to learn about recent healthcare innovations. Hospice organizations should check out the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which offers online learning and courses in addition to conferences.

Most states have their own home health and hospice associations. That’s another great way to find out what other home care organizations are doing to improve care, streamline processes or participate in new care models that are transforming healthcare.

However, don’t limit your search to home care or healthcare organizations. Is there a local or regional technology counsel in your area? How about the Chamber of Commerce or some other business resource or networking organization? In your personal life, what businesses do you frequent and why do you go there rather than someplace else? What are these organizations doing that merit your repeat patronage? Is it something you can adapt to make your home care organization better?

Fantastic, proven ideas are being used every day. While a large majority likely won’t apply to our industry, enough of them will be to merit a long, hard look.

What ideas have you borrowed from other industries to use in your home care organization? Share them with us.

Discover more healthcare innovations and industry trends for your home health organization by visiting the McKesson Homecare Talk Resources Center.

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