Disruptive innovations for scaling evidence-based prevention & therapy
Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Ph.D.
Evidence-based therapeutic and preventive intervention programs (EBIs) have been growing exponentially. Yet EBIs have not been broadly adopted in the United States. In order for our EBI science to significantly reduce disease burden, we need to critically reexamine our scientific conventions and norms. Innovation may be spurred by reexamining the traditional biomedical model for validating, implementing, and diffusing EBI products and science. The model of disruptive innovations suggests that we reengineer EBIs on the basis of their most robust features in order to serve more people in less time and at lower cost. A disruptive innovation provides a simpler and less expensive alternative that meets the essential needs for the majority of consumers and is more accessible, scalable, replicable, and sustainable. Examples of disruptive innovations from other fields include minute clinics embedded in retail chain drug stores, $2 generic eyeglasses, automated teller machines, and telemedicine. Four new research approaches will be required to support disruptive innovations in EBI science: synthesize common elements across EBIs; experiment with new delivery formats (e.g., consumer controlled, self-directed, brief, paraprofessional, coaching, and technology and media strategies); adopt market strategies to promote and diffuse EBI science, knowledge, and products; and adopt continuous quality improvement as a research paradigm for systematically improving EBIs, based on ongoing monitoring data and feedback. EBI science can have more impact if it can better leverage what we know from existing EBIs in order to inspire, engage, inform, and support families and children to adopt and sustain healthy daily routines and lifestyles.