Date of this Version

4-1-2011

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published Version.

Dixon-Woods, M., Amalberti, R., Goodman, S., Bergman, B., & Glasziou, P. (2011). Problems and promises of innovation: Why healthcare needs to rethink its love/hate relationship with the new. BMJ quality & safety, 20, (Suppl 1), i47-i51.

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2011 HERDC submission. FoR code: 111717, 110399

© Copyright BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and the Health Foundation, 2011. All rights reserved.

This paper is freely available online under the BMJ Journals unlocked scheme, see http://qualitysafety.bmj.com/site/about/unlocked.xhtml



This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.

ISSN

2044-5415

Abstract

Innovation is often regarded as uniformly positive. This paper shows that the role of innovation in quality improvement is more complicated. The authors identify three known paradoxes of innovation in healthcare. First, some innovations diffuse rapidly, yet are of unproven value or limited value, or pose risks, while other innovations that could potentially deliver benefits to patients remain slow to achieve uptake. Second, participatory, cooperative approaches may be the best way of achieving sustainable, positive innovation, yet relying solely on such approaches may disrupt positive innovation. Third, improvement clearly depends upon change, but change always generates new challenges. Quality improvement systems may struggle to keep up with the pace of innovation, yet evaluation of innovation is often too narrowly focused for the system-wide effects of new practices or technologies to be understood. A new recognition of the problems of innovation is proposed and it is argued that new approaches to addressing them are needed.

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