Disruptive Innovations in Health and Health Care: Solutions People Want

Three Online Competitions Seek Collaborative, Innovative Solutions to Entrenched Health and Social Problems

    • April 17, 2008

Dates of Project: August 2006 to July 2008

Field of Work: Supporting innovators whose ideas push beyond conventional thinking to explore solutions at the cutting edge of health and health care.

Synopsis of the Work: Changemakers, an online community for social entrepreneurs, provides a forum in which social innovators can develop solutions to entrenched health and social problems. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded three online competitions through Changemakers to generate innovative projects related to specific issues. "Disruptive Innovations in Health and Health Care" was one of the competitions.

Story Told: The competition was based on a concept coined by Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen. "Disruptive innovations are technologies, processes or business models that bring to market products or services that are more affordable and simpler to use than what is currently available." These innovations can cause change that eventually replaces, or disrupts, an established approach. The three winners were:

  • Project ECHO, sponsored by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, which delivers health care and clinical education in the management of complex, common, and chronic diseases in underserved areas through a collaboration between the university, rural health clinics, the U.S. Public Health Service, and the New Mexico Department of Corrections.
  • Family Coaching Clinics, sponsored by UCLA Semel Institute Global Center for Children and Families, which makes mental health services more available to families by locating them in places like shopping malls and organizing them around child-rearing issues.
  • Instant Birth Control, sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette, Ore., which removes many traditional barriers to contraception and makes prescriptions for birth control pills available online to qualifying Oregon women.

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