7 big ideas in healthcare innovation

Katie Adams -

From their thoughts on artificial intelligence's potential to transform healthcare to how to better engage patients digitally to what the hospital room of the future will look like, here are seven quotes about the role of innovation in healthcare that hospital and health system executives shared with Becker's Hospital Review in June:

D. Geoffrey Vince, PhD. Executive Director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations. It all comes back to helping patients. That's the reason why we have an innovations office. We have some of the best physicians, scientists and engineers in the world right here in Cleveland who come up with brilliant ideas every day. And we need a way of bringing these to the market to help patients today and in the future. We want to reduce healthcare costs if we can come up with a less expensive way of doing something. We need to innovate around what we traditionally do but then also look at new avenues that we can explore to impact patient care. 

Shaun Miller, MD. Chief Medical Information Officer at Cedars-Sinai (Los Angeles). One specific tool that likely will see rapid growth and maturity in 2021, given the need to efficiently capture and synthesize such data, is the expanded use of previsit digital patient questionnaires. These allow clinicians to collect more data in the EHR up front, so the visit, either in person or virtual, is streamlined, including the associated required documentation. Ideally, these questionnaires will facilitate more face-to-face time with patients and improve the ability to focus on key issues that need to be addressed during each visit.

Daniel Durand, MD. Chief Clinical Officer at LifeBridge Health (Baltimore). The physical space of the hospital will be gradually digitized until virtually every object and sensor becomes part of the so-called 'Internet of Things.' These innovations can broadly be categorized as either clinical or experiential, though some will be both. Clinical innovations will involve gathering ever more "signals" from the patient (infrared, sound, electrophysiology, pulse-oximeter, facial expression, etc.) to be sifted in real time through machine-learning algorithms that will help physicians refine their understanding of diagnosis and prognosis in ways we can only imagine today. Experiential innovations will allow health systems and their partners to take a page from Netflix, using the engagement opportunity of the acute care episode to stream digital content to patients and families through TVs, tablets and their own devices from home. 

Aaron Martin. Chief Digital & Innovation Officer at Providence (Renton, Wash.). The most promising technology is AI combined with what we call "digital endpoints" for each service we provide. Digital endpoints are technologies like online scheduling, asynchronous, video visits, voice and application programming interfaces. The combination of AI and these endpoints mean that we can enable more sophisticated navigation, new business models, reduce friction and improve care delivery.

Nick Patel, MD. Chief Digital Officer at Prisma Health (Columbia, S.C.). [T]he most evolutionary change coming to hospital rooms of the future is that they will be in your own home. For certain acute conditions, the hospital room will come to you. You will be able to convalesce in the comfort of your own home by using portable technology and next-generation healthcare equipment. This will allow for high quality care to be rendered in a person's home by medical professionals both onsite and virtually.

Nader Mherabi. Executive Vice President and Vice Dean and Chief Digital and Information Officer at NYU Langone Health (New York City). Two-way digital communication with patients is a promising technology that allows patients and their families to have even greater participation in their own care. Following the rapid adoption of telemedicine in 2020, two-way digital communication enables us to get direct feedback and securely engage with patients throughout their care journeys. This technology plays a crucial role in the patient experience at our organization and will remain an important tool as digital patient and consumer adoption continues post-COVID.

Amelia Bischoff Gainey. Director of Digital Health Services at Prisma Health (Greenville, S.C.). Digital therapeutics targeting the "science of happiness" are notably transforming the health retail market. Simple yet entertaining mental diversions like games, exercises and daily tips keep consumers engaged without feeling like they just left the doctor’s office. When people feel better from the inside out, we create a better, healthier world. 

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