Dr. John Kenagy
November 24, 2017

Redefining Success: Designing to Adapt in 21st Century Healthcare

Screenshot 2017-11-23 15.32.04

Modern Healthcare has problems, and that’s our opportunity. 

  1. All healthcare organizations are under pressure to maintain financial stability and some can’t. What if you had financial strength?
  2. A recent survey reported 85% of patients and providers say healthcare costs are disproportionate to What if your patients said, “My care is a great value!”
  3. Ninety-six percent of patients believe U.S. healthcare has problems. What if your patients said, “My healthcare system solves my problems!”
  4. An astonishing 80% of patients say their health has not improved in the last year. What if your patients said, “I have access to the Best Care! My health is improving! I can afford it and I love it!”

None of our great Centers of Excellence (CoE) can provide more access to the Best Care at continually lower cost. What if your organization differentiated itself by doing exactly that? You would become a Center of Value and Excellence (CoVE) and have competitive advantage in 21st Century healthcare.

How would that happen? I’ll explain… what is the surest path to success, 1 or 2?

  1. Management ideas, best practices, projects, consultants and technologies?
  2. Adaptive learning and internal innovation?

Most identify #1 as important, but see the key to redefining success is #2. Here’s why: most management ideas, best practices and technologies are readily available to be copied and implemented, and consultants will be overjoyed to have you pay them to do it. 

Design Thinking for a Digital Future

Therefore, adaptive learning and internal innovation are your key sources of differentiation and competitive advantage. So, here’s what to do and not do…

  1. Don’t buy solutions! Our current system is perfectly designed to deliver all our woes. It’s a system problem to solve with no quick fix. We all have intelligent, talented, skilled, committed people. Why not empower them to create system solutions? Use Adaptive Design: the continuous improvement Operating System. 
  1. Don’t Implement Best Practices! Multiply the power of your people and resources to develop your own new best practices. The goal is not to copy; it’s to be copied. That’s the objective of the Adaptive Design Online Learning System. 
  1. Don’t do big, expensive projects! Think small, simple and safe; then, learn and In Adaptive Design, it’s one unit or service line (the Learning Line) that creates your first Center of Value and Excellence (CoVE). 
  1. Don’t use consultants or technology except to solve specific, technical problems! Adaptive Design empowers your people (Learner/Leader/Teachers) to redesign the work, deliver the opportunity and then systematically replicate and scale 
  1. Don’t implement solutions! Instead, leadership sets direction with a clear, consistent, meaningful Purpose (Ideal Patient Care), and then uses four simple rules to drive continuous improvement as part of everyone’s daily 

For example, an Adaptive Design Learning Line in a Midwestern community hospital just increased their HCAHPS scores 107%, and improved their Balanced Scorecard results from lowest to highest in the hospital, all in less than six months.

That’s success redefined: low risk, high reward, fast.

Why We Need Health-Care Innovation More than Ever


About the Author

John W. Kenagy, MD, MPA, ScD, FACS Kenagy & Associates, LLC info@kenagyassociates.com

Dr. Kenagy's award-winning book "Designed to Adapt: Leading Healthcare in Challenging Times" (Second River Healthcare Press, September 2009), online Experience Adaptive Design learning system and leadership development work focus on getting patients exactly what they need at continually lower cost.

Big solutions for healthcare’s cost and quality problems can only go so far. According to Dr. Kenagy – who has more than 40 years of experience within the industry as a patient, physician, executive and Visiting Scholar at Harvard Business School – the cause of today’s healthcare crisis is a management system better suited for 20th century factories than 21st century healthcare. 

From his multi-faceted experience in healthcare and after studying organizations that excel at managing complex and unpredictable work, Dr. Kenagy developed a method to get healthcare organizations back to delivering on the fundamental promise of their calling – safely providing exactly what patients need and at lower cost. 

Expand Knowledge with Proqis Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Events

Healthcare Technologies News


Welcome to Healthcare Technologies, the portal for Healthcare Tech and mHealth news, opinions and resources.


Submit an Article

Become a Regular Contributor



Featured Content

  • slider-1

    Case Study: Mentis Neuro Health 

  • slide%202
    Case Study: IBM-  Improving Customer Experience through Cognitive Watson Automation technology
The Connected Healthcare World Congress, C-Health18, 2018