Innovation Must Increase in Order to Combat Declining Productivity in Healthcare


McKinsey (a global management consulting firm) claims that the productivity of the healthcare industry has dropped by 0.8% annually from 1990-2007. In order to combat this declining productivity, it is argued that innovation must increase by way of better-educated healthcare leaders.

Many graduate healthcare administration and MD/MBA programs have not adjusted their curriculums to the need for innovation. While many CEO’s in the healthcare industry say that “change and innovation” are most important, graduate schools in healthcare say that “policy and organization” are the essentials.

Many graduate programs focus on lectures in theoretical settings that discuss topics like health policy that do not necessarily encourage innovation. Due to the lack of innovation because of traditional education, many CEOs are designing their own training programs for their organizations.

To solve this problem, business leaders should coordinate with educators to improve program design. It is important to integrate the classroom with reality.

An MBA course at Harvard Business School (HBS) called “Innovating in Health Care” has already had success in students developing business plans. This course also introduced students to case studies and featured various CEO’s from companies, when their case was presented. HBS also has a mentoring program that joins healthcare innovators and students.

CEO’s also believe that formal internships can offer valuable experience for graduate students because it will better inform them of the challenges the healthcare industry faces and allow them to develop solutions. It is also encouraged that faculty research and publications should be increased, so that they may better reform their curriculum.

Accreditation programs for U.S. medical and health administration schools do not require core competencies related to innovation. Therefore, the healthcare administrators should coordinate with accreditation programs to create innovation standards.

Global Educators Network for Heath Care Innovation Education (GENIE) Group was formed to help encourage a partnership between business and educational systems to make innovation a central focus of the education of future healthcare administrators. The GENIE Group has already held two conferences at Harvard Business School and Duke University. It has also launched the Harvard edX program Innovating in Health Care and the HBS Executive Education course Business Innovations in Global Health Care. GENIE continues to survey healthcare administrators on the elements they think are necessary to encourage an innovative curriculum.

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