Engaging interdisciplinary innovation teams in Federally Qualified Health Centers

Olivia S. Jung, Patricia Satterstrom, and Sara J. Singer
Medical Care Research and Review.

To foster bottom-up innovations, health care organizations are leveraging interdisciplinary frontline innovation teams. These teams include workers across hierarchical levels and professional backgrounds, pooling diverse knowledge sources to develop innovations that improve patient and worker experiences and care quality, equity, and costs. Yet, these frontline innovation teams experience barriers, such as time constraints, being new to innovation, and team-based role hierarchies. We investigated the practices that such teams in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) used to overcome these barriers. Our 20-month study of two FQHC innovation teams provides one of the first accounts of how practices that sustained worker engagement in innovation and supported their ideas to implementation evolve over time. We also show the varied quantity of engagement practices used at different stages of the innovation process. At a time when FQHCs face pressure to innovate amid staff shortages, our study provides recommendations to support their work.

Wagner Faculty