Becker's 11th Annual Meeting: 3 Questions with Omkar Kulkarni, Chief Innovation Officer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Omkar Kulkarni, MPH, serves as Chief Innovation Officer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. 

On April 6th, Omkar will serve on the pediatric leadership forum "Innovations in Pediatric / Children's Healthcare" at Becker's Hospital Review 11th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place on April 6-9, 2020 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Omkar's session, click here.

Question: Where do you go for inspiration and fresh ideas?

Omkar Kulkarni: I look to other industries. Most industries have figured out that in order to thrive, a company must be hyper-focused on the consumer’s needs and problems and developing and launching engaging products that solve those problems. We often lose sight of that in healthcare and so I often look to leaders in innovation in other industries (retail, entertainment, consumer tech, etc.) for inspiration.

Q: What do you see as the most exciting opportunity in healthcare right now?

OK: Access to care. With the technology available to us today, we have the ability to re-imagine care models to make healthcare highly accessible to everyone. If we can focus on this core value proposition and strategic priority, we have the ability to make a significant change in the health and wellness of our population.

Q: Healthcare has had calls for disruption, innovation and transformation for years now. Do you feel we are seeing that change? Why or why not?

OK: Healthcare will always be ripe for disruption and innovation because it is an ever-evolving industry that impacts every American physically, emotionally, and financially. Healthcare delivery involves numerous stakeholders, whose interests and priorities are ever-shifting and sheer size and scope of healthcare make it an industry that will always need innovation and disruption.

"What's one lesson you learned early in your career that has helped you lead in healthcare? The most important lesson I learned early in my career was that healthcare is a fast-changing world and the imperative was clear; in order to lead effectively I must master the art of change leadership. I learned to focus on people and processes to drive successful change. As a Revenue Officer and Chief Transformation Officer driving big change to help hospitals transform their bottom lines from red to black, I learned to engage the management team early on, along with getting key people into key positions (or removing them, in some cases) then the process part of change goes much smoother. It's important to break big projects down into small wins to build momentum and celebrate the small victories.

Where do you go for inspiration and fresh ideas? Beckers, of course! In all seriousness, the conference speakers are the best in the industry and the sessions are relevant to leaders in hospitals both large and small. And I don't have to look any further than my inbox daily for the most recent healthcare news and best practices.

What do you see as the most exciting opportunity in healthcare right now? The most exciting opportunity in healthcare today is the move to value-driven care with the patient at the center focusing on wellness and prevention instead of treating signs and symptoms with volume-driven sick visits and hospitalizations. Accountable care, the merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) and value-based payment programs are driving providers from volume to value-based care with incentives to reward both the physician and the patient!

Healthcare has had calls for disruption, innovation and transformation for years now. Do you feel we are seeing that change? Why or why not? Yes, hospitals that are driving change and transformation are receiving high marks in quality and patient-satisfaction. They are investing in technology to coordinate care and making access easier for their patients. At the same time, they are educating and preparing their workforce to be responsive to innovative change. The age of volume-driven fee-for-service medicine is gradually giving way to value-based care. Hospitals must transform to become organizations that reward value instead of volume and develop delivery methods that use evidence-based practices, procedures and technologies to attain optimal outcomes and achieve greater efficiencies. Many primary care providers have heard the call for value and are joining ACO's and working to meet this demand. Sadly hospitals that haven’t transformed to ensure the highest quality patient-centered care and the most competitive prices are being bypassed by the primary care physicians, the patients and the payers. "

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