Band-aid Solutions for Healthcare Problems

“Let’s not put band-aids to our problems.” It’s a great way of saying: don’t use short-cuts when you have to cover long distances.

But there is another way to use the metaphor of the band-aid: develop ingenious, simple solutions that can cover a wide area of deployment. We take the band-aid for granted today. But a century ago nobody heard of one – it had to be specifically invented.

There are so many problems to solve in Healthcare. How many of them are solvable by band-aids? Are we trying too hard? Are we investing too much time looking for big solutions to big problems at the expense of being inventive at the small scale?

This week is SXSW (I know, regular readers think I hate on it – which isn’t true), but what if we had an idea bank where nurses, physicians, engineers, educators, investors, small and large enterprises….anybody who could deposit problems and withdraw solutions?

Or, what if we had small, local idea banks which – over time – could develop networks with each other, seeking system-wide connections to common problems?

I don’t know if something like what I have in mind has been done. But I believe that we may need to re-think Intellectual Property rights – their history, purpose and proper place.

Technological innovation moves at such a rapid pace these days, that traditional IP models may hold us back. An alternative model may speed up the development of band-aid solutions – and actually create new markets and incentives and rewards for all involved: think interest earned, interest paid on deposits and withdrawals.

So the next time someone says “Let’s not put a band-aid to the problem”, challenge her and say: “Hmm, actually a band-aid just might work – let’s see if we can fine one”.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter