8 big ideas in healthcare innovation

Here are eight 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 June.

Eric Yablonka, CIO of Stanford (Calif.) Health Care: "One thing is to continue to be agile. We demonstrated unbelievable agility in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and that agility and creativity need to be sustained as part of the new normal we are coming to. I would also say that it's not only what we need from our IT team, but also what we provide to our IT teams in response to what is happening in [healthcare organizations] and our communities. To that end, I believe it is to be kind, supportive, respectful and good to each other, whether it is matters of pandemic response or racial justice. We as leadership need to listen, be open and engaged to be part of the change necessary as a healthcare provider and community member to support our teams as we go through the change that is so obviously needed."

Peter Kung, chief innovation officer, SCL Health (Broomfield, Colo.): "Take and leverage the great things about your EHR and extend that to a higher layer — where you can create, combine non-EHR features and drive the unique experiences you want your patients to have. For example, companies like Amazon and Walmart both have apps where you can buy many of the same products, including common shopping capabilities such as the shopping cart, check out, taking a credit card and delivery options. The difference is that Amazon is combining distinct and 'table stake' features in a way of delivering a unique value proposition: making the online experience 10 times better than the in-store experience."

Dave Chokshi, MD, chief population health officer, NYC Health + Hospitals: "We're always thinking about putting health equity at the center of all our efforts, and telehealth is no exception to that. We've been very deliberate in making sure that interpretation services were widely available for any telehealth tool that we roll out, and we often had to push some of our vendors and other partners we were working with to ensure they had taken interpretation services into account. Equally, we had to think about making sure that our patients who may have a harder time accessing internet connectivity or the right technology are appropriately supported in our outreach to make sure we stay connected to them as well."

Kristin Myers, executive vice president, CIO and dean of IT at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): "With so much change in the world, and in the light of us all experiencing COVID-19, there has never been a more critical time to build stronger, long-term relationships with patients and their families. To do this, we need to continue to enable the use of digital platforms to impact and improve the patient experience."

Jack Vozar, director at Atlas Healthcare Partners (Phoenix): "I firmly believe patient concerns, complaints and grievances should never go unaddressed or not be taken seriously. What I have found is that systems do not have a robust enough recovery program. Recovery is really about what not to say to patients. Responses to concerns and complaints often inadvertently blame the patient or cast doubt on the validity of the patient or family concern. Engaging front-line team members is critical to equip them with the tools to provide excellent recovery. I have, in the past, surveyed front-line staff in various departments to understand what complaints and concerns they frequently experience and give them responses that are positive and productive rather than negative and blame assigning. When recovery is delivered through a positive lens rather than the negative, the relationship with the patient has the potential to be stronger than ever, but the team needs the tools."

Ghazala Sharieff, MD, CMO of clinical excellence and experience at Scripps Health (San Diego): "When the plan of care involves multiple steps and appointments, someone should be working with the patient closely to ensure the plan of care is being followed. If the patient misunderstood the plan or the sequence of events, it results in delays to care. Why should the patient have to make note of multiple phone numbers to call and get different appointments? They should only have to call one number to speak to someone that can help them navigate through their care. The patient should never feel they need an appointment to be heard and cared for. Patients should feel just as important in between visits as they are made feel during a visit. They should trust that when they send an email or make a phone call, it will be managed and held with the same regard as when a patient is present in office."

Michelle Stansbury, vice president of IT innovation, Houston Methodist: "There was a huge mind-shift for the health system when we developed the innovation hub because most hospitals and organizations have a 'must be perfect' mentality and never want to give up; the idea is that you keep trying until you get it right. That wasn't our model. We either have to succeed fast or fail fast. We innovate in 30-, 60- and 90-day cycles."

Tanya Arthur, senior vice president and CIO, Summa Health (Akron, Ohio): "Health systems, including ours, will need to think differently. We need to think more like other industries. We are dependent on our reimbursement models, but I think there is significant opportunity to direct how we drive revenue. It's all about reevaluating the whole financial model, thinking more broadly about the value of improved health outcomes and leveraging data to improve care. COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for all of us, and what is in front of us is the opportunity to make significant and sustainable change in ways that will improve the health and wellness of our populations."

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