Adventist Health: Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Spirit to Drive Healthcare Innovation

By Jeremy Brown | Employee Engagement
January 11, 2017

In a recent issue of Healthcare IT News, Adventist Health – whose innovation program is powered by Spigit – was profiled for its ability to unleash their employee’s entrepreneurial spirit to drive innovation.

Here’s the big takeaway from the story.

Small improvements make a big impact

Innovation isn’t always about the breakthrough ideas that revolutionize industries, or the entire world.

Broadly, innovation falls into two buckets: growth and incremental. Growth is what makes headlines – think breakthrough new products or services. Incremental moves the needle but doesn’t make as big of a splash – think improving employee productivity, or improving processes.

While growth innovation is always top of mind for companies, oftentimes it’s the incremental innovations that make the most immediate impact.

Adventist Health is a great example of how incremental innovation can make a big impact.

When the company launched its first crowdsourced innovation challenge focusing on improvement, an idea surfaced from their Clinical Information Systems (CIS) department that would solve a major pain point for employees.

The CIS department had been wrestling with a confusing process for filling incoming tickets and change requests. It took hours of manual work to complete tasks, sucking the productivity out of everyone in the department.
 

Recommended resource: The 6 Forces of Healthcare Transformation

 
As the article highlights, while the problem the CIS department was trying to tackle wasn’t as “sexy” as self-driving cars or virtual reality, solving it would make a significant impact on the way employees work, and the company’s bottom line.

As you can imagine, spending countless hours on unnecessary tasks means employees aren’t focusing their efforts on more important activities.

Ultimately, the idea that originated from the CIS department was implemented and made it easier to fill tickets and change requests giving employees time back in their day.

According to Adventist Health’s Chief Human Resources and Innovation Officer, JoAline Olson, “The process to submit requests to CIS is a lot smoother for everyone and the turnaround time is much shorter. The processes that were improved impacted the workflow of half of our 32,700-strong workforce.”

As Adventist Health would attest to, one small improvement can make all the difference in how a company operates and its employees work.

Conclusion

By launching a crowdsourced innovation program, Adventist Health unleashed their employee’s inner entrepreneur.

With the success of their first challenge, the company decided to scale their innovation program to engage the wider employee base, including: 260 hospital-based and rural clinics, 20 acute-care hospitals, multiple home care and hospices, and joint-venture retirement centers.

As the old saying goes: more heads are better than one.

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