Just as in other modern industries, the term ‘innovation’ in healthcare has become associated with any developments in the field done in new, better, or more effective ways. Innovation—a buzzword lifted from the business, technology, and marketing industries—has recently been used to describe a wide variety of policies, systems, technologies, ideas, services, and products that provide solutions to existing healthcare problems. Notably absent from the discussions around innovation, however, is a clear, common understanding of what the term means.
There is growing recognition that clinical training and health infrastructure — while essential—are insufficient for improving and sustaining life-saving maternal and newborn health care services in low-resource settings. Instead, broader systems strengthening and continuous quality improvement efforts at the service delivery level are needed to continuously assess gaps in processes and content of care and to plan, test, implement, regularly monitor, refine and institute changes to deliver services correctly and consistently. To respond to this need and help frontline care providers in their continuous quality improvement journey, “Improving Care for Mothers and Babies: A Guide for Improvement Teams” was recently developed through collaborative efforts of the Survive & Thrive Global Development Alliance (S&T GDA).