Healthcare Innovation

Healthcare innovation

Independent of the national conversation on healthcare reform, North Carolina faces its own set of healthcare challenges — healthcare costs are high and rising, access to insurance coverage and the ability to consult a provider are getting harder, and what’s more is that we don’t get what we pay for. One outcome of these challenges is a marked divide in the delivery of quality, affordable healthcare across our state. This divide helps explain the variation in life expectancy — almost nine years (69 to 78) — across NC counties.iei-mainimage-healthinnovation

While these challenges are daunting, they also represent a tremendous opportunity for our state. If North Carolina deploys its creativity to deliver the innovative products and processes that meet the demands of the healthcare industry, we can position the state to lead the nation in the delivery of less costly, quality healthcare. North Carolina is a state full of innovation and in its current program of work, IEI seeks to identify healthcare innovations that can bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be.Since May 2010, through focus groups, a Leadership Retreat, and the 26th Annual Emerging Issues Forum, IEI has elicited feedback and input from citizens on the role health innovation plays in making our state more competitive. IEI just finished a series of Community Forums across the state to determine what strategies are needed for growing these and other innovations. Visit our Community Forum page for further details.

Learn More About IEI’s Healthcare Innovations Work

In May 2010, IEI held a Leadership Retreat where some of the state’s leading healthcare experts and practitioners weighed in on the most important issues in the healthcare sector in North Carolina. Participants discussed the challenges the state faces in terms of quality, workforce, access, wellness, and IT.

Later in the year, IEI held focus groups in seven communities across North Carolina — Sampson County, Moore County, Pitt County, Mecklenburg County, Buncombe County, Wake County and Guilford County. Participants echoed some of the same challenges first heard at the Leadership Retreat, but during these community discussions, IEI began learning about the many healthcare innovations at work across the state. Community leaders shared how they were combating challenges with innovative programs and new technologies. After hearing the common theme of innovation from communities across the state, and seeing the real economic development opportunities inherent in innovation, IEI’s work in healthcare became focused on innovating our state’s healthcare in order to create jobs, industries, and workforce development opportunities in our state.


At the 26th Annual Emerging Issues Forum, An Idea Exchange for Healthcare, participants heard from the industry’s nationally recognized thought leaders, who addressed the critical need to make innovation in healthcare a priority. Speakers gave specific examples of innovations at work across the country and touted North Carolina as a place where innovation in healthcare can and will flourish if our assets are utilized.

Following the Forum in February, IEI traveled to communities across the state to hold community forums and determine what strategies are needed for growing innovation. Read more about IEI’s Community Forum Series in our Health Innovations Report.