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  1. Section Editor(s): Sanford, Kathleen D. DBA, RN, FACHE, FAAN

Article Content

Innovation is "in" right now. Every speaker, every consultant, and every C-suite executive seems intent on spreading the word. They want to make sure we all "get" why this is so: Healthcare organizations are under intense pressure to demonstrate better quality at a lower price, adopt appropriate new technology, and respond to the threat of new competition from new entrants into what was, until recently, a hospital-dominated industry. We must "reinvent" ourselves, commit to "disruptive" change, and "transform" and "innovate" if we are to survive, or thrive, in a new era.

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We know we need to do things differently. We've been informed for years that our expensive American healthcare system doesn't fare well in a number of outcome measures when compared with other countries.1 I don't know a single nurse executive who isn't striving to improve both quality of care and patient satisfaction. Most of us are convinced we could do more to keep sick patients safe while improving wellness in our communities. We agree with the adage that "madness is doing the same thing and expecting different results." We don't need to be convinced that we need to stop the madness. We pretty much get the "why" behind the voices urging us to innovate.


The issue for us isn't why radical change is called for. The challenge is for us to actually commit innovation-by moving beyond broad concepts to concrete ideas-to implementation. That requires vigilant awareness of the changing environment; foresight to prepare for a radically different future; an ability to imagine or envision what we could do differently or better; the courage to take a risk in trying new things; and the credibility to convince others to go with us on journeys into unchartered territories. None of these are easy for most people.


Authors in this edition speak to the require-ments for moving from why we must innovate to what and how we "commit" innovation. Griner uses the current issue of net neutrality to illustrate the essentiality of environmental vigilance. Pesut shares strategies of foresight leadership to antici-pate and prepare for impending disruptive innovation. Finley and Shea use telehealth as an example of how we can improve health care through efficient use of technology. The Machon et al discussion on learning innovative skills illustrates the courage it takes for successful managers to self-assess, determine a need for self-growth, and pursue a path to learn how to become more innovative. Fuller and Hansen address the importance of nurse leaders as influencers who advocate for nurses to both engage in and be seen as credible team members in practice innovations.


Our team members need encouragement to speak up about what we could be doing to improve healthcare. We can help them understand the difference between invention and innovation. Thomas Edison may have invented the light bulb, because and invention is something entirely new. However, the LED bulbs we have today (some of which can be controlled via Wi-Fi) are very different from his original. That's because numerous innovators improved on his model. Innovation is an improvement on something already invented. We already have healthcare, and we know it needs to be improved. Who better than nurses to figure out how and what could and should be changed? I hope the following articles serve as a catalyst for you and your teams to innovate for the good of individuals, communities, organizations, and for the caregivers themselves.


-Kathleen D. Sanford, DBA, RN, FACHE, FAAN




Nursing Administration Quarterly




1. Sawyer B, McDermott D. How does the quality of the US healthcare system compare to other countries? Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker Web site. https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-spending-u-s-compare. Accessed April 1, 2019. [Context Link]