Live Webinar | Operations and Other Technology
Live Webinar | Operations and Other Technology
Live Webinar | Patient Financial Communications
Trend | Innovation and Disruption

Fostering Innovation in Healthcare Finance

Trend | Innovation and Disruption

Fostering Innovation in Healthcare Finance

HFMA's 2018-19 Chair, Kevin Brennan, explains that fostering innovation while also maintaining daily operations is a challenge, but that when innovation starts at the top it can grow a culture where change is not feared.

Innovation often is presented in a way that makes it seem elusive. To be within our reach, it must be addressed systematically like any other business issue: Define the problem and then solve it.

I recently returned from HFMA’s Annual Conference, where I had the great honor of being installed as our Association’s 2018-19 National Chair. While there, I also had the opportunity to present my “Imagine Tomorrow” theme and share why I believe imagination and innovation can advance our systems of care by turning opportunities and challenges into executable improvements. It was exciting to hear similar ideas expressed by other presenters, including the keynote speakers who addressed such topics as seizing opportunities, emerging technologies, and disruptive innovation.

Examples of successful innovation surround us, from the Internet to significant genomic breakthroughs to artificial intelligence. But the fact is, innovation does not have to be on such a grand scale to be successful. And that raises an important question: How can we foster innovation in our own organizations?

Addressing this question is one of the toughest challenges facing healthcare finance executives today. We continuously grapple with how to get our employees to think creatively and challenge the status quo, while simultaneously continuing to keep everyday operations running smoothly. Innovation, after all, is not like most other business processes, where we have reliable templates, rules, procedures, and measures of success.

An essential first step to fostering innovation is building a culture where there is no such thing as a “bad idea.” Focus on pulling as many ideas as possible out of individuals’ heads and getting them into the group’s head. Promote experimentation and be philosophical when things go wrong. Innovation, after all, is about taking risks and learning from failure. The important thing is to not repeat the same mistake.

One of the most challenging aspects of innovation is getting people to acknowledge and accept that the way they work may not actually be the best way to do things. Change can be difficult, so give people a reason to be enthusiastic about trying new tools or making existing tools work better. It also may be necessary to attract more people from outside our traditional workforce—people with diverse skills and talents who can help challenge the status quo.

We also need to help people see that there are many types of innovation. It’s not just new products. Innovation can also take the form of better customer service, new business models for providing care to a population, or more efficient systems with better outcomes.

Finally, successful innovation starts at the top. When leaders take time to imagine a better tomorrow—and encourage their teams to do the same—the possibilities are limitless.

About the Authors

Kevin Brennan

Sign up for a free guest account and get access to five free articles every month.


Related Articles | Innovation and Disruption

Q&A | Cost Effectiveness of Health

How healthy food incentives can help solve our nation’s problem with unhealthy eating

To help patients dealing with a lack of access to healthy foods, providers should consider partnering with an organization that can help them provide these patients with the means for purchasing healthy food using technology such as swipe cards or mobile e-vouchers, The ability to track such purchases can allow a provider to more effectively work with these patients to address dietary issues, says Sam Jonas of Snap2Save, a developer of this approach.

Column | Healthcare Business Trends

Paul Keckley: 4 implications of the post-pandemic U.S. economy for healthcare

Reports about the state of the U.S. economy after the first six months of 2022 warn of a slowdown in the post-pandemic recovery. Healthcare provider organizations should prepare for four factors related to this slowdown that will shape healthcare's future.

Column | Finance and Business Strategy

Marcus Whitney: Inflation puts innovation pressure on healthcare executives

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare is encountering something it has not seen since the 1980s: severe value network disruption in the form of labor shortages and supply costs.

Blog | Leadership Skills Development

Healthcare News of Note: Nation’s transplant system in need of an overhaul

Healthcare News of Note for healthcare finance professionals is a roundup of recent news articles: Nation’s transplant system under scrutiny, peer comparisons hurt physician well-being, and Dollar General names Healthcare Advisory Panel members.