Author Affiliation: Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Boston, Mass.
Health care is rich in evidence-based innovations, yet even when such
innovations are implemented successfully in one location, they often disseminate
slowly—if at all. Diffusion of innovations is a major challenge in all
industries including health care. This article examines the theory and research
on the dissemination of innovations and suggests applications of that theory
to health care. It explores in detail 3 clusters of influence on the rate
of diffusion of innovations within an organization: the perceptions of the
innovation, the characteristics of the individuals who may adopt the change,
and contextual and managerial factors within the organization. This theory
makes plausible at least 7 recommendations for health care executives who
want to accelerate the rate of diffusion of innovations within their organizations:
find sound innovations, find and support "innovators," invest in "early adopters,"
make early adopter activity observable, trust and enable reinvention, create
slack for change, and lead by example.
Berwick DM. Disseminating Innovations in Health Care. JAMA. 2003;289(15):1969-1975. doi:10.1001/jama.289.15.1969