We hear the word "disruptive" a lot these days in reference to all kinds of businesses, including the two I happen to work in: publishing and health care.

Every day here at Hospitals & Health Networks, we consider and reconsider how we can deliver information to you in ways that are more practical, engaging, accessible and impactful. We utilize traditional media like our printed magazines and custom publications and new, electronic media like the e-newsletter you're reading now. And we'll take advantage of whatever forms of communication that have yet to emerge from the busy minds of ingenious 17-year-olds out there.

The whole thing is challenging and exhilarating — a lot like what health care professionals are going through.

From care delivery to payment, facilities to staffing, your work models are being dramatically transformed — and you are implementing the transformation. The goal is necessary and noble: to make American health care the most effective and efficient possible. But, boy, getting there is disrupting a lot of what we thought we knew.

Well, now the Commonwealth Fund wants to push the envelope even further. It's announced a new "Breakthrough Health Care Opportunities" program, whose aim is "to identify and assess new ideas with the potential to disrupt the health system in a good way by making it more responsive and more efficient, by expanding access to quality care, or by improving patient outcomes."

In a May 5 blog about the program, Anne-Marie J. Audit, M.D., a Commonwealth Fund vice president, outlined the working criteria the program will use for judging what constitutes a breakthrough:

    • How much does it disrupt the status quo? The program is looking for major disruption — a whole new approach that represents a break with what we do now.
    • How big of a difference will it make? Broad societal impact is the goal, with large numbers of people benefiting nationwide. To gauge impact, the program is using a 20/20 rule for screening breakthroughs: the potential must be at least a 20 percent improvement in health care quality and/or a 20 percent reduction in costs nationally.
    • How quickly can it become a reality? The time frame envisioned is up to 10 years to achieve impact.

In its first year, the program will focus on three areas:

    • Engaging consumers in their health care through information technology.
    • Next-generation provider incentives that are grounded in behavioral change theory. 
    • "Frugal innovations" from the developing world that may be transferable to the United States.

To uncover breakthroughs, Audet says the program will "cast our net broadly — not only within health care but across other fields and disciplines as well — reaching out to providers, entrepreneurs, investors and consumers."

Meanwhile, back at the ranch — here at H&HN — we always want to hear from you and your health care colleagues about what kind of information you need today and in what formats you prefer to access it. Let me know at bsantamour@healthforum.com.