Monday, February 22, 2010

Disruption is NOT Always in the Initial Splash

Disruptive Technology – at first glance it almost sounds negative. Disruption as a term means to throw into confusion or disorder. Disruptive Technology is disruptive to a process, disruptive to an industry, but most importantly disruptive to a mindset.

I sat in two conferences. One a group of well intentioned manufactures wanting to disrupt the space surrounding falls in hospitals and the other with a group who wants to disrupt current processes in healthcare by reducing workloads. Phrases like “Change is inevitable” and “If we don’t change then we will be left behind” resonated with me as I tried to collect my thoughts over the weekend. How does this add value to the hospital? How does a hospital make sure it’s not just one more PO on a piece of technology that could end up never being used because of its inability to fit into the life of the caregiver?

As we drove back to the office, my Analyst had a stroke of genius (which happens often) she said “You know that vital device we saw – that could save at least 30 minutes.” To which I replied “30 minutes a day doesn’t change much.” “Not a day! Every time they do that! Kourtney, that would allow us to decentralize at .…..” as she rattled on through several scenarios. (As a former caregiver, she is always excited to find ways to save time.) Then it really hit me – The disruption does not always lie in the immediate process sometimes it’s in the ripple effect.

Have you ever watched a pebble thrown in a pond or puddle? The initial splash is sometimes impressive but what’s truly impressive is to watch the rings as they multiply and span out over the water. Think through the ripples – there is an assumption that the time being gained is used for productive activities and that the productive activities free up another area.

As the ripple gets larger there are more related items that could fill that 30 minutes of time saved, and possibly more time can be gained in other areas. The direct connection back to “that” 30-minutes becomes looser as you move farther from the initial “splash”. In theory and on paper assumptions become strong cases to justify the actions/purchases of administration. I think we will see a lot of that in the coming year, and while skeptics might balk at simple associations – without the creativity of process design – no one would’ve found “that” 30 minutes and we would still be wasting it today.

Have you ever thought about that – let your mind wander through all of the things that one item changes? You have heard of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon – what’s the 6 degrees of one innovation? How many rings does it make? That’s the true value.

My instruction “Blow it Up”! We work in an industry that is so ripe for innovation. There is a new era of change – not just change for the sake of change. We are not talking about technology that ends up in a recycle bin because its value was linked to “fancy” and not linked to improving the day of the caregiver. We are in an era where healthcare providers are demanding follow through on a promise and PROOF in the pudding.

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Kourtney Govro