Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature BMJ Group Awards

Innovation in healthcare: Finalists reflect a wealth of potential

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 06 April 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2087
  1. Luisa Dillner, head of new product development
  1. 1BMJ Group, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  1. ldillner{at}

It started with Hippocrates in the 5th century BC coming up with the idea that medicine should be practised through observation and reasoning. It hasn’t stopped since. Over the centuries the scale of medical innovation, in thinking and technological advances, has been extraordinary. From Zacharias Janssen, a lens grinder from the Netherlands who invented the microscope in 1590, to William Harvey explaining the circulatory system in 1628, to the human genome project that started sequencing chromosomes in 1999, the breadth of medical innovation has been remarkable and uplifting.

If you are involved in healthcare it’s only natural to want to innovate—to have ideas about how you might improve things for patients. So it’s not surprising that the innovation in healthcare category had so many entries—close to 100, which varied from preliminary studies on brain surgery to mobile applications to improve mental health. These entries came from all over the world.

Our three finalists are startlingly different. They include a paediatric team from India that is reducing infant deaths by using expanded polystyrene foam boxes; a website and mentoring service to support pregnant teenagers; and a centralised ophthalmic electronic referral unit that reduces …

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