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Health 2.0: Breaking Down Barriers to Healthcare Innovation

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, September 27, 2011

One major theme that emerged throughout the day and across all sessions is that when it comes to healthcare innovation, the healthcare industry itself is one of the biggest barriers to success. The following are just a few:

Costs: Healthcare organizations are concerned with costs in two ways. First, they're focused on finding ways to reduce costs. Second, they're not willing to invest in solutions that will do that. Developers at the show expressed frustration that the onus is on them to create solutions, but healthcare organizations aren't always willing to share the risk and invest the time necessary to create useful products.

Standards:  From the providers' perspective, healthcare technology products can't just be fun to play with—they must meet specific criteria. They must address a clinical need, reduce costs, be easy for patients and for clinicians to use, and they must be easy to integrate into the complex and ever-changing workflow and organizational operations. That's a tall order for many developers. Those who don't pay attention to their customers' needs won't succeed. 

Evidence: Doctors, in particular, want hard evidence that a new tool will save time and money and improve clinical quality. The healthcare industry is used to an adoption model that begins and ends with research. Developers are clearly struggling to meet that high evidence-based bar.

Laws and regulations: No surprise here that healthcare is a highly-regulated industry—but developers who are new to the healthcare realm often don't understand the extent to which this is true. Let's face it, people who work in healthcare sometimes don't understand HIPAA. And the FDA's promise to step up regulation of healthcare apps is also daunting to developers—and their investors.

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