Everyone wants to think that their innovation program is going to change the world and that feeling persists, because successful innovation programs can have enormous real-world returns. Businesses can save millions of dollars, new business models can disrupt markets, but some of the most impactful innovation efforts are genuinely in the healthcare space. Not only does healthcare innovation overall save the system money (for every dollar spent on innovative medicines, total healthcare spending is reduced by $7.20) but it also has the power to truly save lives as evidenced by research that states “between 1980 and 2010, medical advancements helped add 5 years to U.S. life expectancy.”

Which is why numerous hospitals and healthcare organizations are planning on building innovation centers to drive meaningful change. And if these organizations are ready to make some significant investments in innovation, perhaps it is time to consider the role of a healthcare firm’s Chief Innovation Officer.  But what does a Chief Innovation Officer do at a hospital, pharmaceutical company, or care facility? Here are a few of their key responsibilities:

Technology Tracking. It’s possible that no field of innovation is developing more rapidly than healthcare where new technology is offering us the opportunity to alter and change everything (even ourselves). Ensuring that new technology is being surfaced for awareness or potential adoption is an important part of healthcare innovation.

Training and Education. This means training the entire workforce in new practices, in emerging trends, and how to think like an innovator. Not only should the Chief Innovation Officer socialize the new patient data best practices that are being used in or outside of the organization, but they should be asking others to do the same so that there is collaboration in the learning process.

Creating a Culture that Celebrates Change. And change can be obviously valuable things like new ideas that create new revenue for the hospital, but they could also be failures or lessons learned that help the hospital find its competitive edge. Innovation centers become a showcase for all sorts of research, findings, failures, and successes.

Idea Collection and Nurture. The Chief Innovation Officer should be a bullseye for important ideas within an organization. That means employees need a place to share and connect ideas and that the CIO can also be looking for great ideas outside of an organization. Crowdsourcing ideas is actually one of the most straightforward methods for staying competitive and engaging employees at the same time.

To learn more about innovation in the field of healthcare, download our complimentary infographic on the subject.


By Rob Hoehn

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.

Featured image via Unsplash.