Road Map For Diffusion Of Innovation In Health Care

Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Feb;37(2):198-204. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1155.


New scientific knowledge and innovation are often slow to disseminate. In other cases, providers rush into adopting what appears to be a clinically relevant innovation, based on a single clinical trial. In reality, adopting innovations without appropriate translation and repeated testing of practical application is problematic. In this article we provide examples of clinical innovations (for example, tight glucose control in critically ill patients) that were adopted inappropriately and that caused what we term a malfunction. To address the issue of malfunctions, we review various examples and suggest frameworks for the diffusion of knowledge leading to the adoption of useful innovations. The resulting model is termed an integrated road map for coordinating knowledge transformation and innovation adoption. We make recommendations for the targeted development of practice change procedures, practice change assessment, structured descriptions of tested interventions, intelligent knowledge management technologies, and policy support for knowledge transformation, including further standardization to facilitate sharing among institutions.

Keywords: Evidence-Based Medicine; Information Technology; Organization and Delivery of Care; Quality Of Care; Research And Technology.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Organizational Innovation*
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / methods*