Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations The future of health care

Why innovation matters today

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 22 July 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2970
  1. Ara Darzi, professor of surgery, Imperial College London
  1. a.darzi{at}

    If we want a world class health system, we need to dedicate ourselves to constantly questioning and challenging what we do

    The buzz around innovation in health care has been steadily increasing over the past few years, and the first ever healthcare innovation expo held in London in June was an example of the passion that the subject inspires in a wide range of people, from NHS organisations to drug companies and from foreign governments to local charities. However, translating this enthusiasm into action can all too often prove elusive. In recent surveys 70% of executives said that innovation would be one of their top three drivers of growth for their organisation over the next five years, but at the same time 65% admitted that they were only somewhat, a little, or not at all confident about the decisions they made in trying to stimulate innovation.1

    Innovation in the NHS isn’t just hype, though—the service has a tradition of innovation, stretching back across its 61 year history. Pioneers such as Peter Mansfield, …

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