Healthcare Innovation: Rethinking Hospital GownsSeptember 14, 2010
We love new thinking in healthcare – especially regarding ways to better connect with patients and families, as well as ways to reduce the issues and challenges associated with healing. Imagine if we could offer decreases in healing time and reductions in anxiety and stress at a fraction of current healthcare costs? How do we do this, you ask? By starting small, but thinking big. Innovators in the field of healthcare could learn a lesson from The Orthopedic & Sports Institute. Their new Recovery Inn was born out of extremely simple, yet very smart research, some of which focused on the traditional hospital gown.
For years patients have complained about hospital gowns, to no avail. Although the traditional hospital gown was born in the 1920’s, the healthcare industry has changed by leaps and bounds since then. So why haven’t healthcare researchers picked up on this issue?
Here’s the thing about the research: patients never said, “Why don’t you re-design the hospital gown to resemble nice, warm, fleece pants?” They never said “Why don’t you invent a gown that gives me options, so I can personalize it for my needs?” They have simply moved through standard processes without complaining (all while knowing their back-sides were exposed to their friends and neighbors). In this case, innovation was developed from caregiver team discussions at The Orthopedic & Sports Institute. How did caregivers know changes were necessary? Years of listening to patients talk about how challenging current delivery methods were.
Listening and facilitating innovation through project and facility stakeholders is what elevates the services of healthcare organizations. The job of any company is to identify unmet needs—pain points—opportunities for the industry—and close the gap between today and the future. These types of open discussions reveal genuine opportunities for advancement.
Innovation like this doesn’t require asking leading questions to patients (most likely doing that would simply give you a new color for the same old gown), nor do you need to ask patients to design a solution. All you need to do is watch, listen and facilitate through tools, what may be possible. Once you observe that “patients seem to be unhappy with the feel, openings and comfort of the current gown,” the stage is set for possible solutions to an age-old problem. Caregivers know, they understand, they get it. They have been listening to patient concerns throughout their entire careers. Now is the time to give them the opportunity to use that knowledge to elevate service offerings in order to better care for patients.
Fashion designers are beginning to get in on the action. Click here to learn more about “Haute Hospital Gowns.”
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