Maxine Miles, NHS graduate management trainee, reviews Clayton M Christensen’s Circle Prize winning book.

Around the world, the costs of healthcare are increasing rapidly. The authors of The Innovator’s Prescription argue that a radical approach to change is required, using innovation to reduce costs and improve the quality and accessibility of care. They explain that healthcare is fundamentally similar to other industries where the introduction of ‘disruptive innovation’ has led to increases in efficiency, savings and quality.

Although the focus of the book is on the American health system, many of the ideas and solutions apply to the NHS especially during a period of reform. The authors consider the general hospital not to be a viable business model since it in fact harbours three, sometimes competing, business models under one roof and suffers from high, complex overheads.

They explain that healthcare needs to be separated into: solution shops for intuitive medicine encompassing diagnostic services; value adding process businesses for performing procedures following a definitive diagnosis; and facilitated networks for the care of chronic illnesses.

The authors also claim that improved technology will play a crucial role in facilitating the disruption allowing a shift from solution shops to facilitated networks and playing a role in allowing less specialist professionals to “disrupt” their specialised colleagues. The introduction of electronic health records is seen as essential in the coordination of care amongst providers.

One of the most significant messages is that the solution to meeting future healthcare needs will not come simply from demanding that existing providers operate more efficiently or compete against each other more intensely. It will come instead from new entrants “disrupting” the health care industry.