7 big ideas in healthcare innovation

From their thoughts on how the health IT will evolve in the next five years to how to choose which digital health startups to invest in to which mottos guide their innovations strategies, here are seven quotes about the role of innovation in healthcare that hospital executives shared with Becker's Hospital Review in September:

Chris Waugh. Chief Design and Innovation Officer at Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.): Healthcare is overly complex. What draws specific focus for us is what any individual innovation means for the mother, father, child or employee who will use it. This allows us to clearly prioritize which one is most important to them, and it also allows for more breakthroughs because the innovation comes from empathy, feelings and relatability versus any particular technology or software. For us, we think about how we will make this new technology (AI, voice, etc.) most resonant and meaningful and what real problem or opportunity will be solved for the person using it.

Tony Ambrozie. Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at Baptist Health South Florida (Miami): Like innovation, we see data as telling us how to respond to the future rather than only revealing what has happened in the past. The information, trends and feedback we gather from consumers and patients to clinicians and staff marks the goal post for where we want to go. If the data tells a story, we decide how we can make that story a better one. 

Daniel Durand, MD. Chief Clinical Officer at LifeBridge Health (Baltimore): As the chief clinical officer of a health system that includes five hospitals, I start almost every day by asking myself the question, "What will we need hospitals for in 2030?" How much that we do today will be safely done either at home or in the ambulatory setting in the near future given advancements in point-of-care diagnostics, telehealth, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, robotics, drones, 3D printing, virtual reality, 5G, etc.?

Andy Lehman. CIO at Kettering (Ohio) Health: The home will always be the physical manifestation of our families. However, the home is now a classroom, doctor's office and place of business. As healthcare evolves, it will also become a hospital, which will drive significant changes in health IT. Although not all care can be moved outside of the hospital, there are studies indicating an improvement in outcomes when care is delivered in the home for appropriate episodes. 

Healthcare networks have designed IT infrastructure to support care in the hospital, physician offices and peripheral locations. The home is the next frontier. 

Nick Patel, MD. Chief Digital Officer at Prisma Health (Columbia, S.C.): When assessing a new digital health investment, some of the red flags I watch out for are a lack of maturity of the solution in regards to depth to meet current and future needs, limited interoperability (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources application programming interfaces, software development kits), imbalanced deployment ownership, low technical IQ, poor cybersecurity track record, a roadmap to nowhere, and shaky financial stability of the company. Once you have checked some of those boxes, you have validated the vendor’s true track record on successful, on-time execution of their solution. It’s important to have eyes wide open on what’s "Go Ahead" and what's "on the roadmap."

R. Hal Baker, MD. Chief Digital and Information Officer at WellSpan Health (York, Pa.): As the payment model shifts to outcomes over visits, the opportunity to find a better way to provide care through more frequent and less costly connections will improve both the ease and cost of care, as well as its effectiveness. Our work to connect companies, like Livongo, through EHRs, like Epic, allows our care team to build on the success of healthcare innovators through connecting them to the medical home. We feel this will be the largest change in healthcare IT in the coming years, but this is just the beginning.

Gulden Mesara. Senior Vice President and Chief Communications and Marketing Officer at City of Hope (Duarte, Calif.): With the pandemic shifting the way many communicate and seek information daily, social media has been an instrumental tool — more so now than ever before — to communicate with our patients and donors, to stay connected with doctors on our research and innovations, and to enhance recruitment efforts. We assess how our messages are resonating across digital and social media channels through data analysis, which is also increasingly important, and constantly evolve our content to better suit our audience’s needs. At the end of the day, for us, it’s about connecting and creating dialogue that will deliver top-notch patient care and drive better and faster solutions for the patient community.

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