Diffusion of Innovation in Health Care

Mary Cain and Robert Mittman, Institute for the Future

This report describes the ten critical dynamics that govern how new medical and information technologies are diffused in the health care industry. It is a practical guide for changing the pace of adoption.

May 2002

Trying to change the pace at which new ideas about health care spread through the system is a priority of health care professionals. Such changes easily have major impacts on cost, quality, and patient satisfaction. This report describes the ten critical dynamics that govern how new medical and information technologies are diffused in the health care industry. It is a practical guide for changing the pace of adoption and includes examples and quick tips.

The report presents the basics of innovation diffusion (the stages of adoption, including the typical "S" curve, and the types of individuals who adopt the innovation at different stages) and explores ten critical dynamics of innovation diffusion, including: relative advantage; trialability; observability; communications channels; homophilous groups; pace of innovation/reinvention; norms, roles, and social networks; opinion leaders; compatibility; and infrastructure.

The complete report is available under Document Downloads below.