In a New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst article, Dr. Ryan Vega of the Veterans Health Administration and Dr. Kenneth Kizer of Atlas Research describe a model for operationalizing and scaling innovation in health care systems, which is based on the successful VHA Innovation Ecosystem.
For over two decades, innovation has been viewed as a solution to American health care’s rising costs and too often unsatisfying outcomes, Vega and Kizer write. Most innovative health care products and practices have neither produced dramatic improvements in care nor spread at the pace and scale needed to transform care delivery, they note.
If innovation is going to transform health care, then replicable operating models are needed for developing, adopting, spreading and sustaining innovations, Vega and Kizer argue.
The foundation of innovation is built on four core elements, they write: “workforce capacity to actualize innovation; an organizational infrastructure that supports integrated, systematic, repeatable pathways for change; an innovation-nurturing culture; and strategic external partnerships and collaborations.”
The authors detail several activities from the VHA IE portfolio to show how VHA, a complicated government organization and the nation’s largest integrated health system, is building a foundation for innovation.
“If innovation can happen in the VA, it should be able to happen anywhere,” they note.