Innovation Center Consortium – Accelerating Development

Traditionally, KLAS researches and rates vendors based on a lot of feedback. This means that by the time the vendor gets to the market, they have an established customer base, competition, and adoption in the provider community. Frankly, that method of measurement is a bit lagging for emerging technology. We can't really get ahead of the brand-new technology if only two organizations have it. So we have not been able to provide as much help to the market in that area, but we are starting to. One part of that help is our emerging tech piece focusing on growing companies and new innovations; another part is the Innovation Center Consortium.

Many healthcare organizations are using innovation centers already. Some of them spin off their ideas into separate companies, and some sell their ideas to health systems. But all these healthcare organizations are creating ideas in silos. It is not very effective for 50 different innovation centers to solve a common industry problem 50 different ways, or even the same way 50 different times. One of the biggest problems is having a good idea that works for only one health system. Every health system is different, and finding the first, second, or even third customer that is willing to take that leap with you can be huge.

There is some communication and connection happening, but the goal of the Innovation Center Consortium is to better connect people and organizations who are doing great work. We are creating a forum for innovation center leaders to meet, give each other feedback on technologies, and be each other's pilots.

Innovation Center Day

The Innovation Center Consortium workshop was our first real step toward bringing innovation centers together. For the workshop specifically, the goal was twofold. First, we wanted to start telling people about the mission to get their insights and input on how KLAS can help. Second, we wanted to discover some best practices for effectively driving innovation in this type of provider setting. We invited several leaders in the space with good track records to share their best practices with us. Some were highly formal separate entities from health systems, and some were from smaller, two-people-in-an-office situations.

Our representatives’ answers are well-documented in the Innovation Center Consortium 2019 White Paper. Here are a few of those ideas: 

  1. Develop a clear innovation strategy. It is difficult to start innovating in that early stage when the innovation center is a small team and is not necessarily on the executive team’s radar. Creating a strategy in this situation is helpful. Some of the keys for creating a strategy include actually setting objectives and goals that guide you through the innovation process and then establishing not only what you are trying to do with the innovation but also how you will innovate by establishing really good processes to adhere to. Both of these keys can make an innovation center a well-oiled machine.
  2. Create a strong process for vetting ideas. For innovation centers, this seems to be one of the big gaps, even with some of the well-established groups that have a lot of formal funding and established processes. That is because even those groups don't always have great mechanisms to figure out where they should put their energy. Some best practices related to that issue include evaluating needs globally and prioritizing ideas that help both providers and patients.
  3. Find internal champions at all levels. It is great if an innovation center has several directors that are on board, but does the CEO also back the ideas? If a center is trying to solve provider problems but doesn’t have any physicians that are advocating for the center’s fixes to those problems, then those solutions are not necessarily going to go somewhere. Having internal stakeholders at each stage of a project is crucial.

Moving Forward from Here

No one quite knows at this point how to do a really good job of measuring success as an innovation center. I imagine that is going to be another hurdle that we as an industry need to figure out. What do we measure? How do we measure? And how do we get that feedback fast enough? But at the first Innovation Center Consortium workshop, we were happy to establish a baseline where no matter what stage the innovation center is at, they can implement some of the general best practices that I encourage you to find out more about in the white paper.

We hope that people will use them. Some of the coolest projects and the best companies KLAS works with have actually come out of these innovation centers. I hope that if we can get the success rate to be higher (that in turn benefits the investment community), that some truly innovative solutions will come forward that will benefit providers and patients.