Innovation is currently the talk of the decade, with mainstream innovation having to deal with tech and gadgets, ranging from new media, electronic appliances and renewable energy gadgets. A first of its kind in the African continent, a Healthcare Innovation Hub has been introduced at the Cape Town hospital, Groote schuur.
This healthcare idea is a master plan between the Groote Schuur hospital and the University of Cape Town (UCT Graduate School of Business and UCT faculty of Health Science). The aim of the innovation hub idea was based around the need for new ways to combat service delivery in the health sector.
“The challenges faced in health care in South Africa are all opportunities to transform the system, creating a more people-centred health care system for staff and patients alike,” says Dr Lindi van Niekerk of UCT’s Bertha Centre for social innovation.
The Groote Schuur Innovation Programme is the first of its kind to support public sector health workers to become the innovators themselves. The programme will focus on building innovation capacity in the hospital and creating a network of combat zone innovation leaders and linking these with policy makers in the Western Cape Department of Health.
Dr Bhavna Patel, CEO of the Groote Schuur Hospital has labelled this initiative as a milestone for the South African health system to be leading the way in improving the health sector:
We are proud to be leading the way, to become a beacon for healthcare innovation in Africa.
The Ebola outbreak in western African countries is the most obvious reference to the inability of the African health system to combat life threatening diseases. Dr van Niekerk believes that a ‘radical change’ to the health system is the way to go in ensuring good health service delivery.
“We at the UCT GSB Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and together with our partners at the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences, believe that now is the time for change. To ensure a better future for our patients and the next generation of health workers, it is our responsibility to contribute to, not merely improving the system through small tweaks, but to radically transform the system.” Van Niekerk said.
As a first healthcare innovation hub in Africa, a master plan to allow hospitals to develop new ideas on service delivery, the initiative will grant health workers on the frontline to reach out to the needs of the patients and also developing new health service delivery formulas.
We are excited to see what kind of innovations will be coming out of this hub, that we know will be beneficial to the continent, and hopefully the world at large.