Tensions Within Healthcare Lead to Innovation

The theme of TEDMED 2013 is “Creating unexpected connections to drive innovation.” While contemplating the idea that unexpected connections drive innovative thinking, TEDMED asked us a more fundamental question: “What drives innovation at your company?” After a period of introspection, we hit on what we think is the crux of our process of innovation: the discovery of, and solving for, tensions.

In a multi-variable, complex industry like healthcare, challenges are often as persistent as they are intricate. Within each problem that arises, we often find competing, push-pull relationships. It is from these tensions, these push-pull situations, that the best insights appear.

Acute versus non-acute experiences are an example of a tension within healthcare. The healthcare industry spends a lot of time and money on developing support for the complexities of acute care moments; however, patients, family and caregivers also spend a lot of time in non-acute situations during the healthcare journey – especially during transition times. This includes activities such as researching treatment options, getting work done remotely, consulting with providers, trying to ease anxiety, informing other family members, and providing emotional and physical comfort to one another. Acknowledging the balance between these distinct healthcare situations has led us to new discoveries and solutions.

Another common tension is found between a great healthcare experience and patient satisfaction and a finite supply of resources. Healthcare is now more aware than ever that providing great experiences and supporting patient satisfaction is an important contributing factor to overall better health outcomes. Resources such as time and money always create tensions, but in this case specifically, it seems that healthcare has been led to believe that great experiences have to be expensive. A seating system that takes into account the rising costs of healthcare and the need to have solutions that respect the challenging usage scenarios of 24/7 care would go a long way towards satisfying these tensions. A truly innovative product would marry a great healthcare experience and satisfied patients in an affordable manner, and we believe Regard fits that bill.

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