Last updated: 21.12.13

Training and technology to drive healthcare innovation

Improved training and greater levels of staff engagement could be central to driving innovation in the medical sector.

According to research published at the World Innovation Summit for Health, supporting healthcare champions, harnessing the efforts of patients and addressing the concerns of employees are crucial to boosting performance within the industry.

Meanwhile, inadequate workplace learning and a lack of teamwork were identified as barriers, and Claire Cater, founder of the Social Kinetic and a member of the Wish Forum for Patient Engagement, said this shows care will not improve unless workers are put first.

She claimed in an article for the Guardian that "real staff engagement needs real investment", but there is a pressure on budgets and resources to keep processes fresh.

To make sure employees are motivated and productivity levels remain high, healthcare employers will need to acknowledge the differences between staff and find out what best motivates, influences and inspires them, Mr Cater stated.

This can then be integrated into training practices and ensure all educational materials are tailored towards the needs of the workforce. 

While investing in better learning and development options will likely have immediate financial consequences for employers, Ms Cater noted that "the potential results, in terms of empowering staff to get it right first time, are likely to deliver a number of longer-term benefits".

Technology is one of the biggest drivers of innovation, and by rolling out an online training platform for workers, healthcare bosses could see an increase in productivity and morale. That's not to mention the fiscal benefits of e-learning, which is much more cost-effective compared to in-house training.

We are already seeing an increase in gadgets like smart glasses being used to support various healthcare processes, such as transferring patient data and communication between doctors.

Indeed, recent research from Gartner revealed that the number of organisations to recognise the benefits of smart technology is on the rise, and the percentage of companies in the US to roll out devices is set to climb from one to ten over the next five years.