The term “innovation” has made its way into healthcare as a concept adopted from other fields, with a similar definition to those used in business, technology, and marketing. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that ‘health innovation’ improves the efficiency, effectiveness, quality, sustainability, safety, and/or affordability of healthcare. This definition includes ‘new or improved’ health policies, practices, systems, products and technologies, services, and delivery methods that result in improved healthcare. Improvements in research, patient satisfaction, education, and access to care are additional factors to keep in mind. The ultimate goal of health innovation is to improve our ability to meet public and personal healthcare needs and demands by optimising the performance of the health system (WHO Health Innovation Group, n.d.).
Innovations in healthcare are related to product, process, or structure. The product is what the customer pays for and typically consists of goods or services (for example, clinical procedure innovations). Process innovation entails innovations in the production or delivery method. The customer does not usually pay directly for process, but process is required in order to deliver a product or service. A process innovation, therefore, would be a novel change to the act of producing or delivering the product that allows for a significant increase in the value delivered to one or more stakeholders. Structural innovation usually affects the internal and external infrastructure and creates new business models (Omachonu & Einspruch, 2010).