Building an Innovation Program Case Study


American health care has historically focused on medical interventions and solutions, rather than on disease prevention that can improve the quality of life of many patients. It's often high in cost and low in accessibility. This situation has initiated a wave of change, ushering in new models for both payment and care. A number of other disruptive forces also have been at work, motivating health systems and providers across the nation to innovate or be negatively affected.



Understanding the need for health care transformation, OSF HealthCare developed and implemented the OSF Innovation agenda in 2016 to help the organization embrace change and take on the most difficult challenges in health care. In 2016, OSF Innovation opened its doors within the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center where multidisciplinary teams collaborate with Mission Partners across the Ministry to generate ideas, problem-solve and create solutions to health care's most complex problems.


In just one year, OSF Innovation has been recognized as a leader in the transformation of health care, completing a number of projects that are improving care across the Ministry, creating a national network of partners, leveraging data to make informed decisions, investing in new technologies and devices, employing the use of human-centered design to better understand patients and building a team focused on bringing equitable care to the most vulnerable populations.

"It's this collaborative way of working that has already produced dividends for our organization, not only in implementing solutions to our identified problems to help OSF HealthCare meet the key results that will ensure the Ministry's success."
- Michelle Conger, chief strategy officer, OSF HealthCare.

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Embracing Change

Health care is continually evolving. Clinical models are changing. Demand for care is increasing. And companies outside the scope of traditional health care are developing technology solutions and business models to provide customized care.

OSF HealthCare had a choice in 2010. It could wait and see how these changes would play out, or it could adapt. The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis chose not only to adapt but to be a leader in the transformation taking place.

With that, the organization designed, from the ground up, an innovation program to embrace change, take on the largest challenges in health care and remain true to the Mission of OSF HealthCare. Boosted by a 25-million dollar gift to build a world-class simulation and innovation center, OSF HealthCare was able to accelerate the development of its innovation strategy.

Building an Innovation Model and Center

In 2013, a team consisting of six OSF HealthCare leaders with backgrounds in health system operations, restructuring, performance improvement and simulation set out to build a model that would fundamentally transform the organization. Over the course of several years, this group toured health care facilities across the U.S. as well as manufacturing and technology companies to identify innovation platforms and understand how they were developed to provide value.

Observing other organizations' success, these leaders learned that the only way to build a successful innovation program was to be open to different approaches, understand that its model had to tie back to the Mission and strategy of OSF HealthCare and had to be embedded within the entire organization.

The group also created a definition for innovation to guide its efforts:

"The process of translating ideas that align with our vision of transforming health care into value for the benefit of the patients and communities we serve."

In 2016, OSF Innovation opened its doors within Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, where multidisciplinary teams collaborate to generate ideas, problem-solve and adopt health care solutions quickly, in a space that understands failures can lead to brilliant solutions. OSF Innovation is made up of a variety of divisions including Performance Improvement, Jump Simulation, Healthcare Analytics, OSF Innovation Partnerships, OSF Ventures, Human-Centered Design, Complex Solutions Innovation and TeleHealth.


Ongoing Successes

Since 2016, much has been achieved within OSF Innovation. This includes the development of a rural health care model of the future in Streator, Illinois, where technology is being leveraged to create community engagement and access to care where and when patients need it. Jump Simulation received accreditation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare for its work and was certified to provide continuing education credits for curriculum focused on team-based training. A solid foundation of research has been gained using human-centered design to develop solutions that will positively impact the patient experience.

Healthcare Analytics built a 30-Day Readmission Risk Model that helps clinicians identify patients most at risk for readmissions, driving work processes and helping better align patients with existing interventions such as case management. OSF HealthCare is expanding access to behavioral health services thanks to a collaboration with SilverCloud, an online tool designed to provide patients with easy and immediate access to evidence-based, cognitive behavioral therapy programs and Regroup, a company that offers physician-to-physician medication consultations and direct clinician to patient care over live video conferencing technology.

OSF Ventures has strategically invested in 13 companies. The TeleHealth team collaborated with HealthCare Analytics and Performance Improvement to increase compliance of best practices around blood draws and antibiotic administration for the treatment of sepsis. OSF Innovation, through the Complex Solutions Innovation team, is now pursuing innovative solutions in the areas of removing barriers to health care for the most vulnerable individuals, giving older adults the ability to age gracefully at home and fostering health care ideas beyond the hospital setting for our
impoverished and rural communities.

Now that the foundation has been laid for collaboration within OSF Innovation, this competency will be spread across the Ministry in the years ahead, giving Mission Partners the courage to help in the transformation of care for the benefit of the organization and the patients it serves.