Continuing a thread on innovation stagnation in healthcare, New England Journal of Medicine today published a call for a whole new approach (“Toward an Effective Innovation Agenda”).

Authors Kevin Schulman of Stanford University School of Medicine and Barak Richman of Duke University School of Law, ask:

  • “Why have well-intended efforts to adopt digital technologies had so little systemic impact as compared with those in other industries?”

  • “Why have investments in digital technologies largely failed to lead to meaningful improvements along the axes of health care’s quadruple aim?”

Somewhere around $1 trillion is being spent (misspent?) on digital technologies sold with a promise to “optimize” or “disrupt” healthcare, yet outcomes from the system as a whole remain essentially untouched. Care patterns and unsustainable cost trajectories haven’t changed in the past 20 years. We are in the 50th year of an official “crisis.” Around 90 percent of “digital transformations” fail.

We need new words to think new thoughts. Healthcare isn’t technology; technology isn’t innovation.

It’s about the outcomes, stupid.