How to cite this article: Fajardo-Dolci G, Ramiro-H M. Innovation. Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2015;53(5):532-3.
Received: July 29th 2015
Accepted: August 4th 2015
Germán Fajardo-Dolci,a Manuel Ramiro-Hb
aUnidad de Educación, Investigación y Políticas de Salud
bRevista Médica del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Unidad de Educación, Investigación y Políticas de Salud
Dirección de Prestaciones Médicas, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Distrito Federal, México
Communication with: Manuel Ramiro H
Of all the animals, the human being is the only one capable of making processes leading to the development of new tools and methodologies changing the course of nature for their own and others’ benefit. These improvements have been also given, of course, in the field of medicine, where the research made by thousands of people have been favored by the advance of new technologies, procedures and substances, that while intended to achieve the welfare of patients also seek to achieve a higher profit margin.
Keywords: Innovation, Innovation and development policy, Technological development, Mexico
The concept of innovation, even in our days, could seem unclear, but it implies various situations: one of which refers to a new process or implementation that permits the modification of a problem which in turn has positive repercussions in the lives of individuals and the market, as well as producing economic benefits. Therefore, current innovation is completely tied to the economy and information technology, to the degree of seeming that without those two, innovation cannot be present.
There could be confusion between research and innovation; while research is dedicated to generating new knowledge with little concern for when that information may be used, innovation, as previously mentioned, is a process that uses new, recent, or old knowledge to modify processes with the goal of obtaining benefits, generally economic benefits. As examples of research we have two relevant astronomic discoveries: there are the recently identified new characteristics particular to the planet Pluto and the discovery of a planet similar to the Earth located extremely remotely, at 1700 light years. These are two examples of new knowledge that does not yet have a practical usage at least for the near future, and in which a large accumulation of knowledge was utilized. An intermediary example between research and innovation is the discovery of the human genome. This is a very important discovery, but as of now it has produced just a few benefits in the modification of biological processes, currently there is an economic dispute over the rights to possess this knowledge and the economic benefits that could be generated by this technology. Naturally, the innovations that have been reached with the use of information technology are very important; now it is impossible to imagine education or communication without it. The ingenuity of creators and the vision of entrepreneurs have worked together to innovate and improve processes. An example of this can be found in Luis von Ahn, who created two computer programs, one of which is the more or less deformed font that appears before an internet purchase and the other is a program that allows for creation of quickly copiable texts. However, to do this he needed the vision of the entrepreneurs at Google who paid millions of dollars for the two processes. These inventions have permitted him to dedicate himself to other, less commercial innovative activities that are perhaps more transcendent, especially in the areas of education and language acquisition. An example of innovation without so much help from information technology that produced great changes in processes is the post-it, which utilized an adhesive created by 3M that in theory seemed of little use but allowed the company to develop an office item that now seems indispensable and caused the company to rehire its inventor who had been fired due to the failure that it had signified for the company. Recently, an entrepreneur from Michoacan successfully obtained enough methane gas to run his tortilla and fried-food company. After being overwhelmed by the costs of energy necessary for production, he created a plant that, utilizing at first simple and rudimentary mechanisms, produced methane gas using the cactus plant. Now his factory obtains all of the necessary energy to function from methane gas, and even the transportation utilizes the same combustible; the company has grown and has more employees, although they continue collecting the raw material manually. These examples show how, beyond knowledge, other attributes are needed to modify processes and obtain benefits, perhaps imagination, the courage to change what has already been established, and a great capacity to tolerate failure. Health practitioners in general are resistant to change, perhaps justifiably so, and until the benefits of a modification have been reliably proven it is not amply utilized. Some changes in the medical field have taken too long to be implemented for the patient’s benefit. Two or three examples make this resistance to change visible, one is the coronary angioplasty which only many years after its discovery was established as a standard therapeutic method. The Nobel Peace Prize was given to its discoverers, but even so there was a large delay in its establishment as a possibility to modify the natural history of an ever more frequent problem. Endoscopic surgery is another example, many years passed between the discovery of laprascopics and the establishment of laprascopic surgery as an efficient resource that eliminates much of patients’ pain, although it is not clear if it modifies the costs. Entrepreneurial vision by groups that observed the economic benefits factored greatly in the backing to encourage these therapeutic procedures, although it is worth mentioning that there is no doubt as to the advantages that benefit patients. Amphotericin B is an antibiotic that has particular applications that are undoubtedly beneficial, and liposoluble Amphotericin B has the same or better results as other forms of Amphotericin while considerably reducing renal complications that can accompany its administration, yet it continues to be used in a non-liposoluble form, only because of resistance to change. The administration of aspirin at a low dosage in patients at risk suggests the possibility of reducing serious forms of toxemia of pregnancy; however, conclusive studies about the benefits have not been developed despite the clinical evidence that suggests its utility.
On the other hand, large changes in medical education have not appeared; some new resources are utilized among which many are computational; programs and some methods are modified and perfected but there are no systematic innovations; the path from student to expert remains the same, although some auxiliaries have emerged that facilitate and protect the patient.
Some experts think that groups of innovators should get together independently of the area they are dedicated to and exchange ideas that permit the development of a philosophy of change, tolerance for frustration, and the persuasion of financiers that with the modification of process everyone will be benefited. Up until now, innovation, as we mentioned from the start, has been seen as an economic resource that brings economic benefits, but those benefits could also be observed from a perspective that would allow them to be considered advantages in the management of the sick and the formation of human resources that at the end would be transformed into financial benefits.In the IMSS there is a continual effort in and for research, which has provided satisfactory results but which likely needs to be increased in order to obtain better results and to spread them adequately. In innovation, efforts have resulted inadequate and the reinforcement of strategies that strengthen, spread, and permit the rapid acceptation by those that must implement the changes will surely be necessary.
Conflict of interest statement: The authors have completed and submitted the form translated into Spanish for the declaration of potential conflicts of interest of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, and none were reported in relation to this article.