I was in DC last week and spent some time with AHRQ's Healthcare Horizon Scanning System folks.
One thing that struck me was the clear distinction between Products and Technologies (e.g. pharmaceuticals, medical devices, procedures) vs. Information Technology (e.g. EMRs and "health apps") vs. Care Innovations. For products, it appears that the methodology is relatively consistent (e.g. you can easily find early items via phase 2 trials, prioritize based on significance and effectiveness, and do comparative evaluations against similar products -- and then market forces help with diffusion since some companies can make so much money on successes).
But the same process cannot be applied to Care Innovations or HIT. So what is the best way to "find, filter, evaluate and diffuse" these items? Here are some ideas:
• Scanning: The AHRQ Innovations Exchange is an amazing collection of healthcare service and IT innovations and is a great starting point for those who are looking for new ideas to stimulate them! Other obvious resources are a wide a variety of conferences and newsletters. Some conferences I like for cutting edge ideas are Health 2.0, HIMSS (yes, it's big and corporate - but there are always things bubbling there) and World Congress Innovation Summit. I also have stumbled onto a few non-healthcare conferences dealing with User Interface/Human Centered design which are amazing. For blogs, some favorites are HISTalk, Ted Eytan, Jay Parkinson, and Halamka's. For newsletters, I follow CHCF, ModernHealthcare, HIT Strategist, iHealthbeat, H&HN, HDM, CMIO and FierceEMR.
• Filtering/Evaluation: This will involve watching how pilot project fare, creating models to help extrapolate to different environments (e.g. based on size, payment methods…), and ideally help support funding to try additional pilots in different environments to understand if reproducible and scalable.
• Diffusing: Major education, funding for early beacon programs, possible policy change around reimbursement and other (e.g. allowing more tele-care). A recent CHCF paper on Spreading Innovations is particularly relevant.
So thank you AHRQ for being on the lookout for Care and HIT Innovations and trying to figure out how to spread those that are doing well!