5 big ideas in healthcare innovation

From their thoughts on how to improve contactless technology to retail giants' healthcare consumerism efforts to how to better engage patients, here are five quotes about the role of innovation in healthcare that hospital and health system executives recently shared with Becker's Hospital Review:

Donnie Parish. CIO at Cherokee Nation Health Services (Tahlequah, Okla.). [Digital patient engagement and remote patient monitoring] allow patients to become more engaged in their own healthcare and will create a better health and wellness culture. Providing open communication through text, email, chatbots, digital forms and other digital engagement for all areas of both clinical and non-clinical healthcare functions not only creates that 'digital front door,' but also allows both the patient and care providers the ability to proactively engage in care.

Daniel Durand, MD. Chief Innovation Officer at LifeBridge Health (Baltimore). If I had to pick a large company most likely to "tough it out" and continue to invest and refine its thesis until it has a true impact in healthcare delivery, then I would probably pick Amazon. It understands the modern consumer as well as anyone and it seems to be refining its thesis, learning, and making investments that look progressively more sophisticated from the standpoint of experienced healthcare operators. Plus, its free cash flow is something like 100 times that of the average health system, so it has a lot of room for error.

Zafar Chaudry, MD. Senior Vice President & CIO at Seattle Children's. Contactless technologies have proven themselves in healthcare, such as Internet of Things-based systems, patient check-ins, payments or data collection processes. These technologies will remain as part of the new normal of hybrid healthcare services post-pandemic. However, there still needs to be more work undertaken on resolving issues such as security, the need for liability regulations for contactless services, international standardization of contactless healthcare services and how we address equity issues for those patients who do not have smartphone devices, access to high-speed internet or mobile data services.

Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD. Chief Innovation Officer at Children’s National Hospital (Washington, D.C.). While I appreciate the creativity of some tech and retail giants in introducing certain care solutions, these services are provided in a very "retail-minded" fashion — the only way these giants understand consumers. As such, this consumerism approach has been in the context of sick care, not healthcare. It may address access and perhaps affordability, but health consumers also demand reliability and continuity of care and coordination, which could be achieved by linking these "retail-minded" services with health systems. Only then, we can ensure a total high-value patient experience. 

Roberta Schwartz, PhD. Chief Innovation Officer at Houston Methodist Hospital. Our priority has been to disrupt every area of our organization, and change the way we work into more of a digital technology way of working. So what we like is the fact that we've gone live with a new system in our human resources department that makes it much easier to identify and bring applicants into the organization. We went live with a revenue cycle product that is light years ahead of where we were, and digitizes much of our revenue cycle interfaces for our customers and the way that we've worked. I'm very proud of the fact that for us, it's not just about patient-facing technologies, which are incredibly important, but also recognizing that we are trying to disrupt our business in every aspect. So I feel every aspect of our organization was touched a little bit by the innovation team.

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