The right stakeholders key to healthcare innovation success


New healthcare services and innovations are vital for an evolving healthcare system, but they won’t reach their full potential without properly involving all the right stakeholders from the start.

A new research brief explores this issue, looking at three allied health-led service innovations and the stakeholders engagement approaches used. The findings show a more deliberate strategy is needed to ensure sustainable and successful implementations.

“When stakeholder engagement is effectively accomplished, it has the potential to transform healthcare outcomes. However, when this crucial element is overlooked, innovations often fall short of achieving their intended impact,” said Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Acting Chief Executive Rebecca Haddock.

The brief found that allied health professionals developing new services tend to engage stakeholders based on convenience, previous relationships, or perceived authority levels. However, this ad-hoc approach doesn’t necessarily loop in all parties who can impact the innovation’s aims and outcomes.

As a result, the researchers propose a new “Service Logic” framework for more effective stakeholder engagement when implementing healthcare innovations. It outlines six key steps:

  1. Understand the overall context
  2. Identify the stakeholders who need to be involved
  3. Invite them to participate
  4. Influence and negotiate mutually beneficial outcomes
  5. Sustain their support and participation
  6. Monitor and evaluate the engagement process

“The issue is that, although allied health professionals are experts in their fields and have a strong evidence base for clinical practice, they are often not equipped with the management skills and experience needed to develop and implement sustainable services,” Haddock stated.

The brief emphasises taking a broader “service-lens” view of stakeholder engagement. This allows strategies to effectively involve parties who control key resources and can create value for innovation.

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