Suggestions for the AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange

The SUS events produced various suggestions specific to the Innovations Exchange, in terms of enhancements to the Innovation Profile content describing adoption and implementation issues, and other enhancements or new functions that the Innovations Exchange might undertake.

Enhancements to the innovation profiles and Web site

Discussions produced specific suggestions on enhancing the Innovation Profiles by adding information related to scale up and spread, and the adoption, implementation, and sustainability of innovations. These suggestions included:

  • Expand section in sustainability – Although there is a current section on sustainability, more information on this topic would be useful to potential adopters.
  • Enhance cost and ROI information – these data are very important to adoption decisions, but have proven difficult to obtain for many innovations.
  • Enhance the section on Adoption Considerations, especially by providing more specific detail on how to obtain leadership support.
  • Expand the profiles to include follow-up information from adopters, especially in later stages of spread.
  • Add ratings of innovations, similar to ratings of consumer products and services,
  • Add social media information on innovators contact information, e.g., Twitter handles.

In addition to modifying the innovation profiles, the Innovations Exchange Web site might consider adding a section on Scale Up and Spread. Such a section would include a variety of resources related to Implementation Science, tools for innovators, potential adopters and spread agents, and information on researchers, research funders, and payers interested in these issues. This section could also showcase case studies of successful spread.

Suggestions for other activities for the Innovations Exchange

A variety of ideas was offered regarding activities that the Innovations Exchange could undertake to strengthen its support of promoting the adoption of health care innovations in various settings. These are summarized below.

Innovations Exchange as “connector” and matchmaker

A strong theme in the SUS event discussions was the suggestion that the Innovations Exchange take on a variety of connector roles to help bridge the gaps that exist in the innovation-adoption-implementation process. Bridging is needed between Innovators and potential adopters. While there are many institutions in search of the solutions that the innovators can offer, the gap between the innovators and solutions seekers is vast. Offering the information through the Web site and Web events, while valuable, is not enough. Discussions explored the idea of constructing a “Match.com” for innovators and potential adopters.

Another role for the Innovations Exchange is to function as a connector between innovators and spread organizations with which they can partner. As was made abundantly clear in the SUS events, innovators do not typically have the background and training for the challenge of spreading their innovations. Partnerships with organizations that have these interests and capabilities could be facilitated by the Innovations Exchange.

Bundle innovations on related topics

The Innovations Exchange contains clusters of related innovations that address similar problems from different angles. For example, there are clusters that focus on preventing readmissions to hospitals, increasing efficiencies in patient throughput in Emergency Departments, or reducing infections. The Innovations Exchange could facilitate adoption by creating innovation bundles, working in conjunction with the relevant innovator communities.

Scale up and spread conferences and community building

A nationally focused conference would help build momentum for research and implementation work on Scale Up and Spread by providing a forum for gathering and sharing ongoing work in this field. In addition, and perhaps complementary to a national conference, the Innovations Exchange might support an online community to share ongoing lessons learned among those involved in scale up efforts.

In person and virtual innovator fishbowls

The learning generated by the Scale Up and Spread Fishbowl was considered exciting and unique by most participants, who suggested future activities that would juxtapose innovators with multiple stakeholders who can provide a variety of perspectives on moving the innovations to scale. Recognizing that these events involve considerable planning and resources, the idea of virtual Innovator Fishbowls was suggested as a worthwhile experiment.

Survey health care organizations to Identify innovations

To supplement the scanning function that is currently conducted by the Innovations Exchange, a periodic survey of health care organizations was suggested as a way to identify new directions in innovation. Such a survey make take different forms, from a broad based traditional survey of a sample of health care organizations, to more focused contacts with organizations already recognized to be innovation leaders.

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