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The Innovator's Prescription Book Synopsis

Updated: Aug 29, 2018

In this edition of PT Reading Corner, our book is called The Innovator’s Prescription and comes highly recommended by the President of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association, Allan Macdonald. The book is written by best-selling author Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School. Essentially, the thesis of the book is that economic progression will naturally cause changes in the health care industry. Overall, the book highlights that the health care industry isn’t immune to “Disruptive Innovation,” a process which can bring increased efficiency and quality to an industry. Given that countries all over the world are facing cost related budget crises, there is a need for disruptive innovation to address these concerns. Keep reading for some interesting lessons from The Innovator’s Prescription.

Lesson 1: The Impacts of Disruptive Innovation

With old-fashioned medicine, specialists with many years of extensive training and bountiful experience were utilized to recognize patterns and arrive at diagnoses. However, with disruptive innovation, Christensen notes that new technologies have made it possible to find the pinpoint causes of certain diseases, replacing the intuitive medicine with a more precise model. For physiotherapists, while it seems unlikely that there are technologies out there that will be able to replace our ability to assess and treat, there may be future disruptions. This may allow less-trained individuals to utilize new technology and assess and treat just like physiotherapists, allowing the system to save money overall. This business model would encourage a greater number of handoffs and reduce the need for physiotherapists. Therefore, Christensen emphasizes that it is important for all health care practitioners to pay close attention to the business models being employed. Over time, increased reform to the physiotherapy industry can disrupt and replace the existing network, bringing a massive change to the profession.

Lesson 2: The Importance of Wellness

As products and services become unaffordable due to the high costs and inadequate business models, the quality of health care suffers. Christensen notes the underlying reason is due to the business models involved in health care currently, which result in a profit only when individuals become ill. However, physiotherapists can play an important role in this system by promoting wellness. Often therapists get caught in a cycle of treating patients when they present with ailments such as shoulder impingements or an ankle sprain, however, it is important to look at the underlying cause. By addressing the root of the symptoms, physiotherapists are able to provide an integrated health care model which encourages wellness. As a result, this can allow health care and physiotherapy services to become affordable and accessible for many more individuals.

These were a couple of the valuable lessons found in The Innovator’s Prescription. We, at PT Business Corner, definitely advise giving it a read and would like to thank Allan for his excellent recommendation!


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