Rethinking Innovation: Leveraging Proven Solutions in Healthcare

When healthcare providers purchase and implement healthcare technology, they focus on new solutions, innovation, and ensuring long-term value. They aim to choose “future-proofed” solutions to accommodate potential technology developments.

In most cases, vendors and their solutions are proposed and selected via a tender process, which outlines the customer’s project needs and, traditionally, the desired solution specifications and functionalities. However, in recent years, a new type of procurement process has gained traction: Innovative purchasing allows healthcare organisations to define the desired outcome, but encourages technology providers to propose how best to achieve that outcome. This – more open-ended – procurement process asks technology providers to meet specific needs without detailing how they should do so.

Assessing innovative purchasing

The rationale behind innovative purchasing is to create a space for future tech innovation and bring new and unique solutions to market. However, its less structured nature often leads to customers purchasing solutions that are conceptual, and hence unproven. The tender process and customer desire for advanced, “future-proofed” solutions encourage ambitious tenders. Combined with the complexity of building a new healthcare solution from scratch, this frequently results in projects that run over budget, are delayed or end up missing planned features and functionalities.

While the healthcare sector’s desire to encourage innovation and promote alternative solutions is essential for industry evolution, we need to reconsider whether innovative purchasing operates as intended. More importantly, we need to rethink our understanding of innovation and how it should be applied in procurement processes.

Innovation is not meant to be impossible

When the concept of ‘innovative’ is misinterpreted as ‘entirely new’, one can easily ignore the fact that technological innovation is typically the product of complex development processes that involve regular testing and endless iterations. Most existing, commercially available solutions result from sustained innovation. They have typically gone through multiple iterations and a rigorous development process to reach their current form. Innovation does not always mean creating something entirely new. Often, it involves taking proven ideas and applying them to new challenges, introducing elements from other success stories, and testing changes and adaptations. This incremental approach ensures that innovative solutions are achievable and thereby minimises project risk.

Collaboration is essential

At Omda, we serve customers across a wide range of healthcare and emergency domains and geographies. Based on our experience, we see that successful innovation stems from two primary sources.

  • Close collaboration with our customers and partners.
  • Challenging, enhancing and combining proven solutions to meet contemporary customer needs and to overcome key healthcare challenges.

We build and acquire solutions that are proven to deliver value to customers. We then develop those solutions alongside the same customers, improving them in ways that reflect the specific customer needs. Our solutions are already in production in working environments, which demonstrates to potential and new customers that Omda solutions are safe, manageable and capable of providing immediate value. They provide the stable, long-term foundation on which sustained, customer-focused innovation is built.

The success of this approach is evident in several current Omda projects, from developing new use cases for our innovative emergency services modelling solutions in the UK, to our involvement in a groundbreaking AI-assisted emergency dispatch solution in Valencia.

The Omda innovation process is highly specialised, user-focused and designed around continuous improvement. This is in our DNA. We want to see this collaborative, iterative approach to innovation proliferate in the healthcare sector. And we wish to initiate a broad conversation about what innovation really means in our sector. Innovative purchasing correctly identifies the need for mechanisms that facilitate innovation and new technology development. However, we do not believe it currently achieves its intended outcomes. As an alternative, Omda professes to an approach where sustained and collaborative innovation on top of existing technology solutions can deliver immediate value.

Glenn Kenneth Bruun
Chief Strategy Officer

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Helen Døcker
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
She is based in the company’s headquarters in Oslo, Norway.

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