8 big ideas in healthcare innovation

From their thoughts on automated data collection to insight about what IT improvements are needed to expedite the COVID-19 vaccine rollout process, here are eight key quotes about the role of innovation in healthcare that executives from hospitals and health systems across the country recently shared with Becker's Hospital Review:

Rita Khan, chief digital officer, Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): People generally want convenience, value and experience personalized to their needs. In healthcare they also want access, affordability, transparency and strong health outcomes so that they can be empowered to make better decisions. The healthcare industry is extremely fragmented and it is difficult to provide a simplified and seamless experience. Driven by our primary value — the needs of the patient come first — we are working toward creating an experience that is simple, convenient and personalized, one that meets the evolving needs of consumers. 

Richard Zane, MD, chief innovation officer, UCHealth (Aurora, Colo.): I think the most important thing when we talk about health IT and the concept of delivering healthcare is that we need to stop separating the two and putting them in silos. It is simply part and parcel of the way we deliver care. Just like banking, just like investment management, just like the airlines, just like anything else — we could not see ourselves as separating out IT from our core businesses. The way in which we deliver care is organized around an IT platform, and that's how we deliver care.

Michael Restuccia, senior vice president and CIO for corporate information services, Penn Medicine (Philadelphia): The vaccine rollout process is a classic case study for successful projects requiring "people, process and technology." In this equation, the technology infrastructure of an electronic health record and network connectivity seem to be sufficient at most health systems and communities to support the cause. As a result, the most crucial elements to enable success is the project leadership and teamwork amongst all segments of the healthcare delivery system (people and process).  

Daniel Durand, MD, chief innovation officer, LifeBridge Health (Baltimore): I think we need to harness the power of self-scheduling, mobile patient engagement and at-home testing to help create true scalable solutions that will allow society to meet the great challenges looming before us in 2021. How can we vaccinate the public as quickly as possible? How can we use data on COVID-19 status and immunity to continue to re-open society in a thoughtful fashion that is both informed by science but preserves personal liberties? Health IT will be at the center of our answers to both of these pressing questions.

Claus Torp Jensen, PhD, chief digital officer and chief technology officer, Memorial Sloan Kettering (New York City): The real game changer is not actually health IT in isolation, but rather holistic innovation fueled by the fusion of clinical, digital and technology change. When we put our collective minds to a problem or opportunity, we can do so much more than any of us could do in isolation.

Eduardo Conrado, chief strategy and innovation officer, Ascension (St. Louis): There's also tremendous opportunity for using traditional and non-traditional data, such as personal history of COVID recovery, community syndromic surveillance, consumer time and location data, person-person proximity data surrogates, combined with comprehensive vaccination data at the individual level, to help understand community risk, better anticipate hot-spot emergence and further refine specific consumer cohorts for vaccination prioritization. These insights will be important to reducing near-term pandemic burden for individuals and communities as well as sustain and improve their longer-term health and wellness. 

Pankaj Jandwani, MD, chief innovation officer, MidMichigan Health (Midland, Mich.): Starting at the bedside, there has never been a greater need to automate data collection and unburden clinicians with data entry as we face challenges with different types of tests for COVID-19, and now vaccination through health departments and commercial pharmacies. A lot of what is reported by various states and CDC is still entered manually by providers and clinicians — a monumental effort — fraught with inaccuracies and wasted healthcare resources. I look forward to seeing improved maturity of ambient sensing technologies, integration of remote monitoring and various point-of-care devices into the EMR. We need to help our clinicians reduce screen time and reduce burnout related to data entry so they can spend quality time with their patients.

Tom Andriola, vice chancellor of IT and data, UC Irvine: At the same time, we cannot shy away from the conversation we need to be having at the leadership level about the "new normal," what we've tried and learned during this horrible period and which aspects do we want to keep in place in the new normal. It's been a unique situation in that we've stepped into our future to deal with these unique set of circumstances, and now we have this opportunity to step back from our future, discuss what we've been through, what in it has been better (and what has not), and then strategically decide what stays in place in the post-pandemic world. It just doesn't normally play out this way, so we'd better take advantage of it.

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