Disruptive Healthcare Innovations

Bk1_1In his 1997 bestseller The Innovator’s Dilemma, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen describes "sustaining" versus "disruptive" technologies. Sustaining technologies are the incremental improvements in quality, price and service that exemplify sound management. Disruptive technologies are out-of-left-field; they change the value proposition in a market, and while they often provide lower performance (measured in traditional terms) they are usually cheaper, smaller, simpler and easier-to-use so they broaden the customer base, often quite dramatically.

Photocopies versus offset printing; home pregnancy tests versus doctor’s office visits; scratchy mobile handsets versus high quality wireline phones; computer-based disease simulations versus clinical trials; blogs versus mainstream media — disruptive innovations can bury entrenched organizations.

In the healthcare field, there are many entrenched organizations, and many compete against each other. Physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, researchers, regulators — it’s no wonder that healthcare systems around the world are difficult to manage and impossible to change. Disruptive innovations don’t care about entrenched interests and they may hold the brightest promise for changing healthcare for the better.

For the Health IC Summit in January 2006, we’ve developed a list of disruptive healthcare innovations (they’re not all technologies, some are business processes) that help illustrate new possibilities in regenerative medicine, innovative patient care and medical informatics:

ADAPTIVE PROSTHETICS • ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY • ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE • ARTIFICIAL TISSUE • BIOMIMETICS • COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE • DATA MINING • DIGITAL HOSPITAL • DIGITAL LABS • DISEASE SIMULATIONS • ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS • ENDOSCOPIC SURGERY • ENTERPRISE HEALTHCARE • E-PRESCRIPTIONS • EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE • GENE THERAPY • GENETIC PROFILING • GENOMIC PROFILING • HOME PREGNANCY TESTS • IMPLANTED DEVICES • INHALED THERAPY • INTELLIGENT HEALTHCARE AGENTS • LIFE EXTENSION • MEDICAL INFORMATICS • MEDICAL ROBOTICS • MEDICAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS • MEDICAL TOURISM • MEMORY AUGMENTATION • MEDICAL INFORMATICS • MODELING AND VISUALIZATION • NANOMEDICINE • NETWORKED BIOSENSORS • NEURAL CONTROL • NON-INVASIVE SURGERY • ORGAN ASSISTANCE • ORGAN SUBSTITUTION • PERSONAL MEDICAL DEVICES • PERSONALIZED THERAPEUTICS • PERVASIVE NETWORKING • PORTABLE ULTRASOUND • REMOTE PATIENT MONITORING • RFID • SELF-CARE • SELF-TESTING • STEM CELLS • TELEMEDICINE • TELEMETRY • WEARABLE MONITORS • WEB-BASED MEDICAL INFORMATION • WELLNESS MONITORING • XML MEDICAL FORMATS

Are there items we should add? Change? Delete?

What Others Are Saying

  1. Michael Silver Dec 26, 2005 at 11:36 pm

    You list “Medical Devices” as one category of disruptive technology; I suggest that that category is too broad and can be sub-divided into “imaging devices”, “interventional devices”, and “monitoring or telemetry devices”

  2. William Tucker Aug 3, 2005 at 5:23 pm

    Jack,
    Could you give me the name and phone number of the guy who’s setting up medical savings accounts in California?
    Thanks.
    Bill