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Injecting innovation into healthcare

Entrepreneur Dr Jeffrey Tobias explains why innovation has traditionally been a challenge for the healthcare sector, and why this is about to change.

Injecting innovation into healthcare

After more than three decades at the forefront of innovation in the healthcare sector, Managing Director of the Strategy Group Dr Jeffrey Tobias says profound changes are underway. This typically conservative and risk-averse sector needs to shift its focus away from the organisation and respond more directly to the needs of consumers.

It’s a shift that, Tobias says, will ultimately result in individuals taking control of their healthcare, ushering in a new era of transparency and empowerment.

The healthcare community needs to start to think like a start-up. They need to say yes, privacy and regulation are important. Yes our history in the space is great. But how do we think entrepreneurially?

– Dr Jeffrey Tobias

Transcript

My name is Jeffrey Tobias, I’m the director of the Strategy Group.

Some of the challenges around bringing innovation into the healthcare space are that innovative thinking requires potential failure. It requires thinking of doing things differently that may or may not succeed. It requires the desire to be entrepreneurial, the desire to move away from the status quo and to look at new ways of doing things – personal creativity. And the health sector has not traditionally embraced those sorts of values, it’s been traditionally very risk averse.

Traditionally, innovation in the healthcare sector, and to be honest in most other sectors, has been around product or service, building a new object, building a new service, building a thing of some sort that then gets taken to market. What we’ve seen over the past few years, and we’re continuing to see moving forward, is a shift to innovation happening anywhere in the organisation around brand, around product, around service, around the opportunity to run the company in a better way, and that’s called business model innovation.

I think the healthcare community needs to start to think like a start-up. They need to say yes, privacy and regulation are important. Yes our history in the space is great. But how do we think entrepreneurially? How do we bring that entrepreneurial flare into an organisation or into a culture that traditionally hasn’t had it? And I think there’s an interesting hurdle for us to cross to get to that point. But I think when we reach that point in the healthcare industry it will be transformational.

From the consumer’s perspective, let’s reimagine what it might be. So as an individual moving through the healthcare system, I have total information available at my fingertips around diseases, around medicines, and anything to do with my health – whatever that may be. My health history is available to all health providers when they need it, where they need it, to provide me, as the consumer, the ultimate in healthcare delivery.

If I look at empowerment in healthcare, it’s around me being allowed to make the decisions that I want to make irrespective of what the organisation wants me to do.

So all of the secrecy and the magicianship drops away, we have total transparency, total access, and I am totally empowered to manage my healthcare process in the way that I see fit.

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