High Value Health Care Incubator

The CERC High-Value Health Care (HVHC) Incubator recognizes that innovation at the “last mile” of health care delivery in clinics and practices plays a key role in systems change.  To make innovation happen at that scale a combination of organization, focus and skills are required. The CERC HVHC Incubator is designed to put those elements along with financial support into safety net clinics as they tackle problems facing their patients and practice.  The CERC HVHC Incubator differentiates itself from other organizational innovation research projects in the following ways:

  • Target Organizations and Problems:  The CERC HVHC Incubator is aimed at non-profit clinics and organizations that deliver health care services to the large and growing population of Californians dependent on public-funded health care.  The CERC HVHC Incubator solicits problems surfacing at the ‘last mile’ of the health care where care providers meet patients.  Problems affecting access, variations in quality, complex high-cost needs patients and integrated services are examples of high impact problem areas.      
  • Power of Competition:  The CERC HVHC Incubator uses the power of competition to select problems having the greatest potential for positive impact on the quality and cost of safety net health care.
  • Design Camp:  The CERC HVHC Incubator organizes and supports a problem-solving exercise using human-centered design and expert coaching to support clinic staff in making innovations.
  • Rapid cycle improvements:  Clinic teams are encouraged to make rapid refinements to innovations using observation and analysis to maximize the desired outcome.
  • Scaling:  Successful innovations at a test site clinic are pushed out to other clinics to scale innovation quickly.

Structure and Operation of the CERC HVHC Incubator

The CERC HVHC Incubator incorporates several innovation strategies that have been successful in non-healthcare industries or that have emerged from academic research.  The “incubator model” uses small, diverse teams to analyze well-defined problems from multiple viewpoints and to encourage creative solutions.   This approach has been used widely in non-health care settings such as manufacturing and operations management.  Human centered design, an approach based on applied empathy, has its origins in several academic centers including the Stanford “Design School” and has been proven useful in solving complex problems of product design or human actions.

The operations of the CERC HVHC Incubator are illustrated in the graphic below.

Important Dates

·       July 2021:  Outreach to eligible clinics to submit applications for Design Camp begins

·       September 15, 2021:  Pitch Night. Selection of three clinic applicants for Design Camp

·       September 2021 :  Design Camp begins

·       December 2021:  Design camp concludes and prototypes launch

Eligible Clinics and Organizations

In its inaugural year (2021-2022) eligibility for The CERC High-Value Health Care Incubator is limited  to Federally Qualified Healthcare Clinics (FQHCs) and Look-alikes in the 14 Northern California counties in the Partnership Health Plan managed care network.

High-Value High Care Incubator Awardees ~ Congratulations! ~

Marin Community Clinics

Petaluma Health Center

West County Health Centers