Examining the Fundamental Impact of Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare

The healthcare industry continues to face change at an incredibly rapid pace. As providers face unprecedented burnout, it can be a massive challenge to find the energy to integrate new ways to deliver medical services. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss the concept of disruptive innovation and how providers can face changes within the healthcare industry with confidence, not trepidation.

 

What is Disruptive Innovation?

Disruptive innovation refers to introducing a product, service, or business model that significantly alters the way a sector operates, often challenging established market leaders and products. First surfacing in a 1995 article in the Harvard Business Review, the term initially described how smaller companies with fewer resources could challenge and outpace established businesses by targeting overlooked customer segments and delivering more suitable solutions.

In healthcare, disruptive innovation doesn’t just refer to changes in technology. While advancements in software and devices certainly play a role in disruptive innovation, the healthcare sector is more nuanced. New care delivery models that enhance accessibility, affordability, and quality are just as impactful as the technology that providers rely on. Whenever leaders in the industry find new ways to deliver value to patients and providers alike, the healthcare industry experiences disruptive innovation.

 

Identification of Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare

Identifying disruptive innovation in healthcare involves recognizing solutions that fundamentally change aspects of care delivery. These innovations often start by addressing cumbersome or inaccessible processes so providers can advance the care they offer patients. The three indicators of disruptive innovation include enhanced accessibility, cost reduction, and technological integration.

Enhanced Accessibility

Disruptive innovations often simplify processes and make solutions more widely available to a broader range of people. This characteristic not only expands the reach of innovations but also drives cultural shifts, promoting greater awareness and acceptance of accessibility as a fundamental principle. 

Cost Reduction

Lower-cost solutions while maintaining or improving quality are a common occurrence with disruptive innovations. They catalyze competition in the market, prompting established players to innovate further and adapt to changing healthcare demands. As a result, healthcare professionals benefit from a wider range of options at more affordable price points, ultimately driving progress and accessibility.

Technological Integration

The integration of technology is a hallmark of disruptive innovation in healthcare. In decades past, electronic health records (EHRs) were introduced and created a massive shift in the healthcare industry that we’re still seeing the effects of today. Disruptive technologies enable new ways of accessing care, managing health data, and streamlining administrative processes. By identifying solutions that prioritize improving existing processes, healthcare organizations can recognize the potential for disruptive innovation and adapt accordingly. These indicators often signal a shift towards more patient-centric, efficient, and cost-effective care delivery models.

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Examples of Disruptive Innovation in Healthcare

We’re keeping our eyes on a few new concepts and technologies that have the power to transform healthcare as we know it.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine simplifies the process of accessing healthcare by allowing patients to receive consultations remotely, reducing the need for travel and in person visits. Through real-time interactive services, individuals can connect with healthcare professionals from the comfort of their homes (or anywhere else they choose). Additionally, telemedicine facilitates timely care delivery, enabling patients to seek medical advice promptly without waiting for an available appointment slot or enduring long waiting times in crowded waiting rooms. 

mHealth

Healthcare providers now regularly use mobile devices within their routines, and it’s about time they start being an integral component of patient care as well. Too often, individuals neglect preventative care or allow significant lapses between medical appointments. mHealth technologies can help providers engage directly with patients, easily delivering care guidance no matter the place and time.

Artificial intelligence
With artificial intelligence, or AI, the possibilities are endless. For example, AI can be used to predict potential health concerns based on a patient’s symptoms and history. On the administrative side, AI can pinpoint problems with requests for reimbursement before A/R team members submit claims. While AI can’t replace the human touch, it can be used to enhance all aspects of care delivery.
Wearable Health Monitoring Devices
Wearable technology, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, has evolved to continuously monitor vital signs, sleep patterns, and other physical activity markers. These devices empower individuals to take a more involved role in managing their health, while providing healthcare providers with real-time data for remote patient monitoring and early intervention.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR technology is utilized in various healthcare applications, such as surgical training, pain management, and exposure therapy for mental health conditions. VR simulations provide immersive and risk-free environments for healthcare professionals to practice complex procedures, while also offering innovative treatment options for patients.

Relevance of Disruptive Innovation to the Healthcare Industry

The relevance of disruptive innovation in healthcare is immense, given the sector’s complexity and the critical need for improvements in efficiency and patient outcomes. Here are several ways disruptive innovation will drive the future of the healthcare industry.

Elevated Patient Care

In recent years, there’s been a massive shift toward encouraging patient advocacy and prioritizing the patient experience. When the value-based care delivery model was introduced, it caused a substantial shake-up in the healthcare industry. As time has passed, this once-new concept is widely accepted — but it all started with disruptive innovation.

Improved Efficiency

It’s common for healthcare providers to be responsible for their own charting and billing at small, privately owned practices. Disruptive innovations free up valuable resources by finding new ways to automate administrative tasks and data management, allowing healthcare providers to focus more on patient care rather than paperwork.

Decentralization

When providers have options with how they structure their practice or render care, patients are more likely to experience positive health outcomes. High-quality patient care is the driving force behind successful practices — and not every provider jives with the same products or systems. More decentralization powered by innovation allows providers to adapt their processes to their preferences.

Transference of Skills

With providers being stretched thin, processes and products that allow medical professionals to better distribute work can play a pivotal role in reducing burnout. Practice management software and EHRs that support automations and other time-saving features can shift responsibilities from providers to administrative staff.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with Benchmark Solutions

Disruptive innovation is key to solving many of the healthcare industry’s most prevalent challenges. By rethinking how healthcare is delivered and leveraging new technologies, providers and patients can collaborate more closely and experience better outcomes overall. For healthcare providers and industry stakeholders looking to stay ahead of the curve, understanding and integrating disruptive innovation into their operations will be crucial for success. At Benchmark Solutions, we are committed to helping medical practices navigate and implement these innovations, ensuring you’re well-positioned to meet the evolving demands of healthcare delivery with our Benchmark RCM, Benchmark PM, Benchmark EHR, and Benchmark ProTech solutions.

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