Understanding The Role of Social Innovation in Healthcare




December 10, 2021

Over the past century, we have observed a leap in medical advances: from novel drug discoveries and diagnostics to the digitalization of various health services. However, there is still a lag in delivering these outstanding innovations to the more marginalized section of the world. And to bridge the gap between healthcare advances and individuals in need, the WHO introduced the social innovation in healthcare initiative in 2014. But, what is social innovation, and how does it help our concern for healthcare advancement? Let's find out.

What is Social Innovation?

Social Innovation can be understood as the creation and implementation of new and effective solutions to solve social or environmental problems. These solutions may not necessarily be introduced as national policies. As long as such solutions meet the current social needs better than their predecessors, any government and non-government entity can propose them.

Social Innovation in Healthcare

The healthcare sector around the world faces the challenge of rising healthcare costs, an aging population, poor and inconsistent care, and inaccessibility to timely care. It may be shocking to know that nearly 15% of patients admitted into a hospital suffer an adverse effect post-treatment. Moreover, 10-20% of all these effects come about due to medication errors.

As a boon, social innovations offer us an alternate perspective to the challenges we face in the healthcare system. They are based on the belief that people from all walks of life have the ability to comprehend their health and know the best way to address the problems they face.

The beauty of social innovation in healthcare is that it can take several forms. Innovation projects can be in the form of processes (like effective care pathways), products (digital applications), marketing (social finance tools), behavioral practices (person-to-person service), or new policies.

The vision of advanced healthcare is driven by the convergence of four major trends that are continually tracked and updated for best results. These include:

  • Connectivity and convergence: It aims to offer coordinated population management through digital tools, anywhere and anytime.
  • Innovation to zero: Aims for a future with zero medication errors and hospital-borne infections.
  • Innovative business models: Business models supported by the latest technologies can cater to population health, risk sharing, direct to consumer, and supply chain intelligence.
  • Social trends: More and more people empower themselves to take control of their health.

Why is Social Innovation important in Healthcare?

Social Innovation can help make healthcare more valuable, inclusive, and affordable. The integration of data and analytics into patient management can help healthcare providers monitor patients, enhance operational procedures and accurately track treatment and treatment costs.

In the past, healthcare institutions and professionals mostly worked in isolated silos of practice, which disconnected various information sources, such as pharmacies, health and medical records, patient services, and payments. Fortunately, healthcare providers can deliver better quality and more coordinated care due to the increasing digitization of healthcare services.

But, social innovation in healthcare goes beyond simple medical solutions. It does more than enhance the public and private sector health delivery capacity or create a more resilient healthcare system. It empowers individuals and communities to improve their quality of life and achieve equal access to healthcare independently. By combining various aspects of technology, business, medicine, and social care, social innovation aims to change the social relationships among people.

 Discover more about Innovation at MIT ID Innovation

At MIT ID Innovation, we aim to create contemporary innovators and empower them to excel in the political, social, economic, and technological framework. Through our flagship program, we take a comprehensive approach to innovation and combine design, technology, business, and humanities with the aim to build a strong foundation that can help deliver effective solutions.

We offer vital innovation courses offline and online to people from creative, technical, and social science backgrounds. If you are someone who wants to challenge the very archetype of evolution, apply at MIT ID Innovation today.

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