Innovation is the lifeblood of any corporate growth strategy; companies that are content to stand still will be always passed by those who consistently think ahead. Yet innovation doesn’t always require mindbending, groundbreaking, out-of-the-box ideas. Sometimes innovations can come from simply making new connections or looking at things in a different light. Call them renovations.

Lab TestI was reminded of this by the picture at right. It looks like a page from a chemistry textbook, but it’s not. It’s a snapshot of one section of the lab report from my blood test taken during a routine physical exam.

It’s all Greek to me–and to anybody else who hasn’t spent a dozen years in college, I suspect. But why? The point of a physical exam is to stay healthy; if everyone wants me to be healthy–my doctor, my insurance company, ME–why is my lab report written in a foreign language? Jiffy Lube does a better job of explaining my car’s diagnostics.

We all know that the healthcare industry needs macro, market-driven reform to deliver better responsiveness, competitiveness and efficiency, and that in many unfortunate respects that’s out of the hands of industry players. But just because you can’t remodel your house doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change the carpeting. How difficult would it be to dump the info from my labs into a simple, consumer-friendly format that explains each measure in layman’s terms and offers tips on how I can improve my scores next time?

The answer is it wouldn’t be. I know it might make doctors twitch (and personal injury lawyers drool) because of how I might misuse the information and harm myself. Fine, give me a disclaimer to sign along with the form and everyone will be off the hook. But the more this industry (any industry) can combine a consumer-driven, market-based perspective with a bit of imagination, the better off we’ll all be.