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Using CIMIT's Healthcare Innovation Cycle to Define a Solution's Maturity

The Healthcare Innovation Cycle establishes a sequence of healthcare specific milestones that creates a roadmap to guide teams as they navigate the complex journey from an unmet clinical need to becoming the standard of care. It builds on the well-established Technology Readiness Level (TRL) framework, but differs in four important ways:

  1. Because it is focused helping teams with innovations rather than just science and technology, the initial level is changed to describe the clinical need.
  2. TRL’s stop at 9, with the solution being used in practice. A 10th level was added (“Standard of Care”) because considerable work is needed to disseminate healthcare innovations so that they are widely available.
  3. The process is represented as a cycle rather than being linear. This highlights a key lesson learned: to improve the chances of success, start with unmet clinical needs (“clinical pull”) rather than a technology solution (“technology push”) and always keep a focus on improving patient care and not become enamored with improving the technology. When done correctly, the cycle operates as a spiral, arriving at the end of each rotation at a higher standard of care, awaiting new medical insights and innovations for further enhancement.
  4. Successfully innovating in healthcare requires constantly balancing perspectives from four key domains: clinical, market/business, regulatory, as well as technical. Proceeding in a synchronized manner greatly assists teams in managing risks and avoiding preventable mistakes that can derail even the most promising of innovations.

Defining Maturity Through Deliverables

To determine the maturity of a solution in its journey from an unmet need to being widely disseminated, a core set of required deliverables have been defined at the junction of each milestone and domain. Download this matrix that lists the core set of required deliverables in each “cell” of the matrix defined by the 4 domains by 10 milestones (in this case for HealthTech solutions). Check-off each required deliverable that is complete and upload the document.

Note, we strongly recommend keeping the progress across the domains in sync. As you plan your work, consider filling in gaps and progressing in each domain simultaneously.