The Need for Innovation in Healthcare

07/05/2021

As the digitalization of healthcare continues to expand throughout the industry, innovative medical technologies are set to deliver substantial new value opportunities to those hospital organizations that successfully implement them. In a world where disruptive and exciting digital technologies are revolutionizing patient care, being innovative is not just desirable but necessary. When so much is at stake – from improved efficiency, better patient outcomes and boosted reputations to attract talented staff and remain competitive – how can healthcare organizations be innovative in the present day? And what are the innovations that deserve your attention?

Ear, Nose, Throat, General Surgery, Gastroenterology, Urology, Gynecology, Pulmonology
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The need for innovation in healthcare
Healthcare decision-makers are consistently under a huge amount of pressure to deliver quality care with limited resources. Factors such as an aging population, sharp rises in long term conditions, reduced funding, increased patient expectations and of course, the current COVID-19 pandemic, make this even more difficult and highlight a constant need for innovation in healthcare.

Shortages in the availability of skilled staff is also a serious challenge for healthcare providers, who must appear as attractive as possible to appeal to the most talented and sought-after potential employees. Groundbreaking technologies and the ever-growing digitalization of healthcare can help provide this much-needed innovation, creating opportunities to boost attractiveness to patients and staff while improving patient outcomes and efficiency.

A reputation for innovation through digitalization
Within the context of healthcare, innovations must demonstrate a clear benefit when compared to what is currently done. For instance, the World Health Organization Health Innovation Group (WHIG) states that innovation “responds to unmet public health needs by creating new ways of thinking and learning” and “aims to add value in the form of improved efficiency, effectiveness, quality, sustainability and/or affordability” 1. As such, innovation in healthcare encompasses a broad range of applications from novel therapies, surgical procedures, tools and tests, to new approaches to training, education, procurement and service delivery models.

In today’s digital world, it is not surprising that the concept of healthcare innovation is tightly interconnected with digital transformation and digitalization. To remain competitive, both in the eyes of the patient and potential staff, many organizations have recognized that they need to adopt cutting-edge digital healthcare technologies. This could include platforms for virtual appointments, novel surgical imaging technologies or mobile health apps for example. To find out more about digital healthcare solutions, read our article on Digitalizing healthcare: the rise of virtual care.

Through the digitization of healthcare, patient experience and outcome can be improved – but digital technologies also impact the entirety of healthcare provision. From virtual methods for HCP-to-HCP communication to digital platforms for performing administrative tasks such as updating patient records and data, the potential benefits of new, disruptive and exciting technologies impact throughout a whole hospital organization. As such, benefits in terms of efficiency, ease-of-use, time-savings and cost reductions can be felt by all those who work in the sector, from hospital management through to practicing clinicians.

With many European markets experiencing a shortage of skilled staff, reflecting a reputation for innovation is more important than ever. Being perceived as innovative through groundbreaking technologies and the ever-growing digitalization of healthcare creates opportunities to boost attractiveness to patients and staff while improving patient outcomes and efficiency.

State-of-the-art, innovative healthcare technologies

Healthcare innovation and the patient experience
Enhancing clinical capabilities - through the acquisition and utilization of trailblazing equipment - can make a major contribution to satisfying staff expectations, improving patient experience and further strengthening the reputation of a hospital organization in the eyes of current or potential patients. For example, innovations in endoscopy techniques can improve the speed and reliability of diagnosis and treatment. This is exemplified by Olympus EVIS X1 , an advanced endoscopy system that integrates innovative, novel and easy-to-use technologies such as Extended Depth of Field (EDOF), Red Dichromatic Imaging (RDI), Texture and Color Enhancement Imaging (TXI), and proven features like Narrow Band Imaging (NBI) to support accurate screening and confident diagnoses. Combined, these technologies aim to facilitate cancer screening and improve the way gastrointestinal disorders like colorectal cancer can be detected, characterized and treated.

The ORBEYE is an example of how digital innovation can have a myriad of advantages in the operating room, enabling surgeons to conduct better microsurgery, for example. Unlike traditional surgical microscopes, where surgeons must view the magnified surgical site by looking down a set of ocular lenses, ORBEYE works like a digital magnification camera. It provides a pristine 4K3D view of the surgical site, which is projected onto large 55inch monitors. As a result, not only the surgeon can see the procedure, but the entire surgical team. This positively impacts the team interaction during surgery and facilitates surgical procedure training for other healthcare professionals. In addition, surgeons can now perform heads-up surgery while looking straight ahead at a screen instead of down a small and constraining set of lenses. As well as positive ergonomic effects, this allows surgeons to better position their patient and achieve new surgical site viewing angles with ORBEYE.

The attraction of healthcare innovation
From the standpoint of clinicians, new and innovative technologies are attractive since they aid in their ability to deliver optimal care. For example, EVIS X1 incorporates ENDO-AID CADe - a computer-aided detection application that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to support clinicians. Additionally, interaction with cutting-edge technology contributes to professional development, allowing clinicians to expand their portfolio and augment their personal value – which is of course appealing. ORBEYE, for example, adds an extra layer of value as it can be leveraged for surgical training and conferences - providing an immersive experience to help professional development/training and to also build collaborations. Professor Jan Regelsberger, M.D. Neurosurgeon and Chairman of the Neurosurgical Department at DIAKO Krankenhaus Flensburg commented that the ORBEYE “is a truly new and innovative technology and one that we believe will continue to be relevant over the coming 50 years” 2.

ORBEYE also makes a revolutionary leap in terms of ergonomics in the workplace when compared to traditional surgical microscopes that remain large and uncomfortable. Specifically, the ability to perform heads-up surgery allows a more comfortable and natural working position and may relieve stress on the surgeon’s head and neck. Providing an ergonomic workspace demonstrates a commitment to the wellbeing of employees and can positively impact their performance, overall wellness and safety.

How healthcare innovation drives efficiency and economic growth
Innovations in healthcare can drive economic growth by improving efficiency and increasing productivity, as well as optimizing patient outcomes. For example, SOLTIVE has the features and capabilities to change everything in urology, providing value that matters across a number of different urological applications (e.g. Lithotripsy, BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia) and Soft Tissue) as an all-in-one, easy-to-use and cost-effective solution.

SOLTIVE utilizes an innovative energy source that has the potential to dramatically improve efficiency in the urology department. In the case of stone treatment, a reduction in operational time by up to half can be achieved when using SOLTIVE – freeing up a clinicians’ valuable time. Moreover, a meticulously considered design that includes features such as quiet operation and an air-cooled and optimized energy system, leads to significantly less maintenance, improved energy efficiency and reduced staff stress. Ultimately, all-in-one innovations such as SOLTIVE optimize workflows to help improve efficiency, productivity and staff wellbeing - all while driving down the cost of ownership.

Summary
State-of-the-art, digital technologies and procedures help enhance the reputation of hospital organizations, distinguishing them from their competitors. Not only does this help in attracting and retaining clinical staff and patients, but through innovation, hospital organizations have the potential to improve patient care. In addition, novel technologies have the potential to streamline workflows leading to better time-management and in turn, increased efficiency and productivity.

Innovative equipment, such as ORBEYE, EVIS X1 and SOLTIVE from Olympus can boost a reputation for innovation and simultaneously improve the health space for patients and staff alike. While these innovations provide some obvious benefits, it is important to note that innovation is not just beneficial, it is necessary. In order to prosper, hospital organizations must leverage innovation to stay relevant in a competitive market.

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