13 big ideas in healthcare innovation

Here are 13 key quotes about the role of innovation in healthcare that executives from hospitals and health systems across the country shared with Becker's Hospital Review in August:

Peter Fleischut, MD, senior vice president and chief transformation officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (New York City): "Technology is not value-neutral. In the adoption of technology, it is our role as leaders to make sure it doesn't worsen care or worsen disparities. It should reduce disparities, and it should improve care. So I think it's important, as we adopt technology, to think about that."

David Sylvan, president at UH Ventures (Cleveland): "I think AI in healthcare projects to be around a $6 billion market in 2021; those systems that are either not yet in the planning or consideration stage in AI from an operational efficiencies perspective are going to fall behind the competition, or succumb especially as we move toward value and away from volume."

Omkar Kulkarni, chief innovation officer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles: "If you're looking to jumpstart the innovation process in your organization, this concept of not just a traditional hackathon, but a reverse-pitch hackathon can be really impactful. It's an efficient, effective and replicable way of navigating and starting that innovation life cycle."

Muthu Krishnan, PhD, chief digital transformation officer at IKS Health (Burr Ridge, Ill.): "Specialty-focused, FDA-regulated apps will become a tool of choice for clinicians to manage patient population. We see this as an interesting experiment today. This would bring caregivers, patients and physicians together to solve different dimensions of the same problem to improve the clinical outcome."

Aaron Martin, executive vice president and chief digital officer at Providence (Renton, Wash.): "On the patient facing side, I think AI is fundamentally going to solve a big problem in healthcare. If you do the math of the demographics and how many patients are going to need to be taken care of – first baby boomers and then millennials after that – the supply of providers will not meet the demand of patients. AI will help take over in low-acuity and low-risk situations so clinicians can practice at their top of license."

Michael Pfeffer, MD, assistant vice chancellor and CIO at UCLA Health (Los Angeles): "We know that social determinants of health play a critical role in health outcomes, but often are hard to capture fully with in-office visits. But now I have a lot of physicians commenting to me about how they are able to connect with patients on a different level with video visits and better obtain this key information."

Jason Joseph, CIO at Spectrum Health (Grand Rapids, Mich.): "There is still a lot of variation in care processes that gets in the way of digital transformation. For example, while we have a high degree of automation and digitization within our health system, we still use faxes in healthcare to communicate with other providers. That fax is essentially a giant red flag sticking up saying a process somewhere around here is broken because I have now resorted to the least common denominator of communications." 

B.J. Moore, executive vice president and CIO at Providence: "In the innovative space, we are focused on the future of care delivery, a future that has the patient, not the site of care, at the center; with innovations on how care is delivered. For example, around telehealth and home monitoring scenarios, and innovation on the way we enable care providers for greater experience and outcomes. An example emerging from the collaboration with Microsoft is natural language processing and cancer treatment."

Heather Nelson, CIO at the University of Chicago Medicine: "We don't have the luxury right now to do the 'nice to have'; we need to focus on what's the most critical thing for our patients, physicians, care team members and healthcare workers to make sure we can continue to be the best healthcare provider in the region and keep our patients and employees safe. That's what we need to focus on. I have complete buy-in with my peers and team members; we're all in this together. I don't see it as an IT issue but rather a healthcare operational issue that we all play a role in supporting."

Gianrico Farrugia, MD, CEO at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): "It's now up to us to design a system where people can seamlessly move among various care models to get exactly the right care at the right time — delivering satisfying patient experiences and better outcomes at lower costs for both individual patients and the nation as a whole. But like a stiff rubber band, once stretched, healthcare will reflexively snap back unless we intervene."

Michelle Stansbury, vice president of IT innovation at Houston Methodist: "We stop and think about a surgeon who is performing a procedure and needs information. Wouldn't it be nice if they could just say, 'Alexa, please show me the last scan for this patient. Please show me the last labs for this patient.' It's an easier way for the clinician not to have to stop and get someone else to pull up the information so we are investing in that technology. The other thing we are investing in is ambient listening. It's about how do we get our clinicians again back in front of the patients and not necessarily asking the patients questions and then typing them on the computer."

Sony Jacob, CIO at SSM Health (St. Louis, Mo.): "The definition of care delivery today to a large extent is symptom management; it's not cure. When I think about innovation today I ask the question: Can you use DNA sequencing to drive personalized medicine to the end consumer that actually causes disease. If you're able to do that, now you have changed the scales on how to control access in healthcare. If the patient can get the care that they need by the second visit and doesn't have to come back for more visits, now you've changed the equation on how to create more cost-effective access in the delivery system."

Manoja Lecamwasam, system vice president of intellectual property, life sciences & device and strategic innovation at CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): "I think one of the biggest issues of having precision medicine or personalized medicine in sequencing and genomics in community hospitals like we are serving is that it's always happened at research institutions or it has been experimental in research. But 80 percent of care happens within the communities and the interaction between the physicians and the patients is the most important act in healthcare and it needs to get to that interaction, and the way that happens is community hospitals and non-academic hospitals and medical centers start to look at these innovations and incorporate that into care."

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