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Innovation Q&A With Ninfa M. Saunders, DHA, FACHE

By Topic: Leadership Development


Healthcare Executive talks with Ninfa M. Saunders, DHA, FACHE, president/CEO, Navicent Health, Macon, Ga., on how her organization is employing innovation in their strategies and operations to improve patient outcomes, engage their staff and clinicians, and provide more efficient and positive results.  

Here is what she had to say. 

Q: Why is the topic of innovation in healthcare important to professional development? 

A: Current and future healthcare leaders must drive their organizations to meet the operational demands of today, as well as to understand how innovation can serve as a strategic imperative to navigate the uncertainty of the future. Furthermore, as healthcare executives, we must enhance our skill sets to become familiar with the principles of portfolio management, which should include transformative innovation initiatives throughout the continuum of care, in addition to optimizing business within the four walls of our hospitals. 

Q: How have you mastered innovation in your organization?
We take pride in our culture of innovation and have thoughtfully invested in creating an innovation ecosystem. The innovation ecosystem includes well-trained internal teammates who know how to accelerate organizational change management and workflow redesign, as well as embrace external entrepreneurs and partners who have novel concepts that need a “living lab” for co-development. Our innovation ecosystem has nurtured over a dozen novel concepts that directly impact the lives of our patients, ranging from reduced COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) readmissions by 40 percent, to reduced A1C levels of 2.5 for a high-risk Type 2 diabetic population, to reduced hospital-acquired infections due to the implementation of hand hygiene technology.


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