The Innovating Health Series returned to Melbourne and re-examined the Culture of Innovation in Healthcare with a particular focus on system innovation. It addressed a problem statement from a previous session:

“Healthcare has plenty of innovation. We have world leading research, development of new drugs, treatments and medical devices, advancing digital systems and an ever-expanding digital health start-up sector building smart solutions. The problem is that these innovations are fragmented, not-connected or take too long to implement. We don’t just need product innovation in healthcare, we need system innovation.”

Innovating Health Roundtable 5 photoThe Culture of Innovation keeps coming up as key issue or barrier to healthcare moving forward, often these statements are couched in administrative or regulatory barriers. It has also been observed that in terms of innovation, there is a lot of noise and energy, but generally the primary drive is to support digital business and jobs growth, and second is to solve problems of the day. Certainly, our health systems need greater connectivity: connectivity to deliver efficiency and effectiveness gains which are increasingly required, but also to bring true connectivity between clinical service providers and multi-disciplinary teams, connectivity between clinical services care and patients to better empower the consumer to manage, participate and indeed create their own health and wellness.

But connectivity – often far beyond health systems and health policy – also helps us to find new ideas, new approaches, new ways of working. In turn, these can spur a paradigmatic shift in our health systems and approaches – defining the pathway to the health systems and outcomes of the future. Ultimately – the greatest challenge of all is one of “how”.

Dr Vishaal Kishore We welcomed back Simon Terry who led our first conversation on culture, together with Dr Vishaal Kishore as our discussion guides to explore the challenges of health system innovation and cultural change. Both guides brought different experiences and perspectives on system innovation in healthcare. The aim was to build threads of a story acknowledging that people, culture and change is a really difficult problem.

The discussion was the most thought provoking and pragmatic to date with a number of commitments from attendees to pick up the outcomes from the session and identify “crucibles” for change within their own organisation that contribute to system innovation and change. This was a great outcome for Innovating Health which seeks to move away from systemic issues towards practical change.