With the arrival of a free market in health care, the dynamics within the sector have also changed quite dramatically. Healthcare institutions act as competitors and the ‘competition’ between differing institutions is often restricted to price and quality of care only. The latter (quality) is much more difficult to define than the former (price). External influences, such as professional colleges and associations, as well as national and international stakeholders put more and more pressure on healthcare institutions; therefore they must meet higher and higher standards in order to carry out or to continue certain surgeries and treatments.
Under these circumstances it is essential that we invest in Innovation and Research and Development (R & D). There is no industry that can survive without investing in innovation. Innovation in care is necessary in order to remain focussed on the goals which one wants to achieve and to make the difference in a ‘competitive market’. In addition, the demands on health care are growing rapidly and we are seeing a trend towards personalised medicine, which presents us with entirely different demands on health care than in the past. The changes follow each other in a rapid succession, which makes education and indoor training programmes an important topic within the organisation.

R & D, combined with (in-house) education are necessary to attain sustainable ‘state of the art’ care that survives in a highly competitive environment.

There are many ways to fund these R & D programmes. Amongst other things, there are numerous grants available (for ‘commercial businesses’) such as WBSO, MIT and international grants such as EFRO. R & D also leads to cost savings due to the significantly shorter time to market for deploying new technologies and processes. Outsourcing for R & D is not an option, because every institution must have its own strategic priorities. R & D and strategy are inseparable and therefore require in-house research facilities.


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