Fostering innovation: What can health care teach education?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Disruptive innovations have transformed health care in recent years and brought about the greatest transformation of the system in a generation. Education’s turn could be next.

The most obvious change is the Affordable Care Act, which brings coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans. However, other innovations that escape widespread notice are just as important. One is the rising status of nurse practitioners. These clinicians provide high-quality primary and preventive care in retail-based settings like convenient care clinics and community settings like nurse-managed health centers.

The spread of this new model of care was not without its challenges when it was first introduced in 1968. The realization of its promise took almost 40 years and required more than 300 state and national law changes. Challenging the status quo is never easy, but in this case it was worth the effort. Close to 200,000 nurse practitioners function today as mainstream primary care providers not just in retail and nurse-led clinics but in many other health care settings, as well.

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