Curating an innovator culture, per Sandra Powell-Elliott

Sandra Powell-Elliott serves as the vice president of life sciences and innovation at Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health. 

Ms. Powell-Elliott will discuss "How to be a Daredevil Innovator in Healthcare" at Becker's 7th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference, which will take place in Chicago from Oct. 4-7.

To learn more about the conference and Ms. Powell-Elliott's session, click here.

Question: What are your top priorities today?

Ms. Sandra Powell-Elliott: Every organization grapples with managing for today and building for tomorrow, and we are no different. Creating an innovative culture, one that strives to experiment and learn, is a top priority. For us, an innovative culture is one focused on creative problem solving and executing solutions. Our industry will continue to face a number of challenges in the upcoming years, and the ability of our team members to solve problems and execute on innovative ideas will be a critical skill to continue to thrive.

Q: How are you thinking about growth in the next two years?

SP: Growth will continue to occur in the ambulatory arena of services. As a result, ease of access to services and the patient's experience in receiving those services will become critical. It is no longer about shifting our mindset that outpatient services will be rendered in different locations, but the competition to keep those patients will be fierce. Growth will only come from our ability to keep new volume once we serve the patient. Our competition will become more aggressive from companies targeting certain segments of the business because it is easier to access the service, less expensive, or the experience is more enjoyable. We have to think very differently about not where the growth will come from, but how we will always be fighting new competitors to ensure we continue to be chosen by the patient.

Q: Where is the best opportunity to disrupt traditional healthcare today?

SP: I think there are a couple of areas I particularly feel will drive disruption in the industry as we know it today. The continued evolution of diagnostic testing capabilities in the outpatient setting is going to become more democratized. Sensor technology is rapidly evolving and enabling point-of-care testing to become more feasible and affordable to offer in community settings such as physician offices, urgent care centers and even pharmacies. Testing will simply become more convenient for clinicians to order and patients to complete. Health systems providing these services currently will have to continue to evaluate their role in providing non-acute, outpatient based services and continuing to connect external data elements into personal and electronic health records.  

One additional area of interesting development is the use of voice technology in both automating data collection and even diagnosing different types of clinical conditions. There are a number of companies actively pursuing this technology space with very promising early results. Many of us already use a form of voice technology in our automobiles and homes already, and it will be an easy leap for patients and health consumers to leverage this technology in new and innovative ways.

Q: What are you most excited about for the future?

SP: I am most excited about how the evolving technology landscape will come together and truly improve clinical outcomes and the lives of so many people. My hope for us all is that we remain focused on measuring how we are impacting clinical care with the implementation of different types of technology and learn what works best to apply to the next generation of healthcare delivery.

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