Brigham Health president Dr. Elizabeth Nabel: 'We have an obligation to innovate brave new ideas'

Innovation and discovery are "core values" of Brigham Health, according to President Elizabeth Nabel, MD, who has led the Boston-based health system through a significant culture shift in recent years in order to more fully prioritize those values.

"We like to say that innovation and discovery are in our DNA, that innovation and discovery were the core values that led to the founding of our hospital," Dr. Nabel explained during a keynote address at the Becker's Hospital Review CEO + CFO Roundtable in Chicago on Nov. 13.

"We try to instill in all of our clinicians and researchers the importance of innovation and discovery," she said. "No matter what you are doing, we have an obligation, a responsibility to innovate brave new ideas and share those ideas with our colleagues, whether you're working in the clinical space, in public health or serving the community."

That "critical" aspect is manifested at Brigham Health in three realms outlined by Dr. Nabel. The first is Partners Innovation, a venture capital and business development unit driving organic growth for the system through research innovation. The second realm encompasses Brigham's strategic priorities: digital health and basic and translational research, which are served by three innovation funds and an accelerator program.

Finally, Dr. Nabel described the transformation Brigham Health has undergone to create an overarching culture of innovation that drives collaboration and discovery. The five pillars of that innovative culture are:

  • Break down silos and collaborate
  • Honest and respectful connections
  • A diverse and inclusive culture makes us better
  • Empower the whole organization
  • Embrace imperfection and learn from mistakes

The cultural element was perhaps most important, Dr. Nabel said, explaining, "If we didn't have the right culture in place where all of our employees felt united working together, we were going to be unsuccessful as an academic medical center."

More articles on innovation:
UCSF, UC Berkeley, U of Washington spearhead $106M hub for neurology disease research, treatments
Cleveland Clinic to split $1B donation for research from Lord Foundation
Inspira Health unveils tech for EHR, health innovation at new hospital

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