Frugal innovation in healthcare

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Frugal or ” Jugaad” innovation is a concept which is being embraced by businesses across various sectors. One aspect of this movement, which is particularly relevant to the healthcare sector, is producing low tech alternatives to more complex products.Companies such as General Electric and Siemens, which produce some of the globe’s most expensive and complex pieces of medical equipment, are looking to develop simpler devices which will drive growth in emerging markets and recession hit countries.Adapting to DemandGE Healthcare is one of the companies currently leading the way. The British based business, which is owned by General Electric, has pioneered the use of mobile ultrasound and electrocardiogram scanners in less developed nations. Mindray, a Chinese manufacturer of medical devices, has focused on reducing costs and as a result can deliver scanners and portable electrocardiographs at one tenth of cost their Western counterparts.In the past these innovations would rarely make it to Western markets, where insurance companies and the state shoulder costs. However, as the economic environment becomes increasingly difficult to navigate, opening the doors to these less expensive products is becoming a necessity. In the United States alone, medical spending per head has tripled since 1990.Delivering Cost Effective Performance
As it stands the healthcare sector is significantly behind other industries in terms of cost effective innovation. There are several reasons for this, including copious levels of red tape and a lack of competitiveness driven by state and company funded healthcare. Despite this, times are changing and adopting a more frugal approach will allow the sector to drive growth in a challenging environment.

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