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Innovation Center Consortium 2019 White Paper Innovation Center Consortium 2019 White Paper
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Innovation Center Consortium 2019 White Paper
Accelerating Next-Generation Healthcare IT Development

author - Doug Tolley
Doug Tolley
author - Emily Paxman
Emily Paxman
October 10, 2019 | Read Time: 4  minutes

In September 2019, the new KLAS Innovation Center Consortium kicked off with a day-long workshop attended by a select group of representatives from some of healthcare’s most forward-thinking provider innovation centers. The goal of the workshop was to share development priorities and best practices for seeing healthcare IT innovation projects through to success. The insights shared in this paper come from the day’s small group discussions.

What Is the KLAS Innovation Center Consortium?

KLAS’s mission is to improve the world’s healthcare through collaboration, insights, and transparency. The Consortium supports this mission by bringing provider innovation centers and thought leaders together to advance the creation, adoption, and funding of the most useful and impactful innovative healthcare IT solutions. By supporting partnerships between health systems, facilitating best-practice sharing, and providing performance insights around new technologies, the Consortium hopes to accelerate the development and adoption of market-changing technologies.

What Problems Are Innovation Centers Trying to Solve?

After introductory remarks and a keynote presentation by Neil Gomes, chief digital officer at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System, participating innovation centers shared their top development priorities in small group discussions.

Technology related to access of care was one of the most frequently cited areas of investment. Under this umbrella, particular areas of focus include telehealth; helping patients and consumers navigate health system services; and using drones to facilitate the transport of medicine, blood, and laboratory samples. One participant asked, “Are consumers and patients getting access to our services? Once they’re in, we want to be efficient with the flow. . . . Consumers want and need help now. We have to get rid of the barriers.”

what are your top development priorities

Consumerism was also top of mind. Participants indicated that the industry must start to view patients as consumers, engage them in their own care, and provide for their needs in innovative ways modeled after other industries. One leading innovation center representative expressed the need for a new generation of healthcare leadership that has experience in the consumer world.

Beyond addressing recent shifts in healthcare, innovation centers are also working to solve healthcare’s persistent problems. Participants noted that driving provider efficiency, particularly with the EMR, is an ongoing problem that requires innovation. According to one participant, current technology has “let our providers down. . . . We should be closing charts with a hand motion. Burnout and cost of replacements are the drivers of this innovation.”

I Have a Good Idea; Where Do I Go from Here?

Successful innovation is often elusive; good ideas fall by the wayside if provider organizations do not leverage best practices and avoid potential pitfalls. To help others move from the idea stage to the development and deployment stages, participants reflected on their own successes and failures, providing best practices others can leverage to drive effective innovation.

best practices for driving successful innovation

Develop a Clear Innovation Strategy

A common best practice emphasized by innovation center participants is having a clear, well-developed strategy for innovation. Some respondents shared experiences in which gaps in their strategy, such as unclear project ownership, led to project failure. Participants offered several keys to success in developing a clear, successful innovation strategy:

develop a clear innovation strategy

Create a Strong Process for Vetting Ideas

While there is no shortage of development ideas, organizations do not have unlimited resources, so finding the right ideas to support is key. Innovation centers made the following suggestions for success:

create a strong process for vetting ideas

Find Internal Champions at All Levels

While the value of internal champions for innovation projects is somewhat obvious, participants indicated that failure to find the right champions is a pitfall that has held them back in the past. They recommend that others:

find internal champions at all levels

Build an Effective Innovation Team

In addition to having strong external champions, it is mission critical for organizations to consider the makeup of the internal innovation center’s team.

build an effective innovation team

Other Best Practices

Several other recommendations for success were mentioned less frequently. These suggestions include:

other best practices

Measuring Success through Adoption

While different innovation centers use different metrics to gauge success (e.g., reduced costs, increased efficiency, etc.), adoption is a key measure of progress for many. Unfortunately, driving end-user adoption of new technology is not always a simple task. Leveraging project champions during this process is the number one piece of advice innovation center participants have for their peers to help drive adoption. Other recommended best practices include breaking down clinical and IT silos to create project visibility; partnering with other provider organizations to pilot solutions and uncover adoption barriers; and leveraging partnerships with technology companies.

What’s Next for the Innovation Center Consortium?

At the conclusion of the workshop, KLAS presented next steps and attendees gave feedback and additional recommendations. Going forward, KLAS plans to further aid participating innovation centers by focusing on three primary objectives:


Enable connections:

Create a directory of innovation centers that includes organizations’ profiles, innovation goals, contact information, and other relevant demographic information that would help members understand each other and network.


Create matches:

Help match up innovation centers with organizations looking for solutions. In essence, provide project-level collaboration between innovation centers.


Separate fact from fiction:

Research early stage companies and share validated customer feedback to help separate fact from fiction in emerging healthcare IT solutions.

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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.