Healthcare Innovation To Do List – Insights from #DIHI2013

I had the priviHealthcare Innovationlege of attending the inaugural Summit on Transformative Innovation in Health Care at Duke University last week. The event was the launch of the newly formed Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI). As noted by The Herald Sun article, the event had multiple world-renown healthcare experts providing their insights and suggestions for a robust and impactful DIHI as it launches.

Complementing the live meeting was a very active Twitter stream using the hashtag #DIHI2013. As an active tweeter, I too shared my commentary and captured nuggets of insights from the speakers using my account, @NannetteSC. So I’d like to share with you some key takeaways that I captured that will be important for ensuring that the DIHI is able to truly be innovative in healthcare in a disruptive, not incremental manner. In my opinion, these concepts are essential to really make a difference for patients!

@NannetteSC: Great advice from Lord Ara Darzi @Imperial_IGHI on mistakes not to make with our #healthcare innovation #DIHI2013

1. Learn from others: Lord Ara Darzi, Chairman, Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London provided a wealth of insights from a review of the British National Health Service. His honesty of the good, the bad, and the ugly is a resource that can help DIHI, and the United States as a whole, as we embark on some of the broadest changes to our healthcare system in many years.

@NannetteSC: Yes! How to figure out which innovations to fund? Ask someone outside of Duke (need external opinion) & ASK PATIENTS! @bobkocher #DIHI2013


2. External evaluation and patient input is essential: Bob Kocher, a partner at Venrock, provided many suggestions, one of which I agreed with thoroughly. For real innovation to be meaningful and impactful in healthcare, opinions and insights from those outside of the closed knit circle must give their 2 cents. Without that, any organization runs the risk of just drinking their own Kool-Aid and not really taking a tough look at their ideas. Having had over a decade of experience in technology transfer, I have often experienced this challenge with many different organizations from government labs, to universities, to start-ups. Nobody wants to take the risk of hearing that “their baby is ugly,” but that is a key step in truly bringing forth transformative innovations. Innovators need to welcome feedback–good and bad–in order to optimize their inventions for the intended market.

In addition to the tech transfer component, patient input should be a standard check box before any healthcare innovation proceeds beyond concept stage. Most successful healthcare  innovations will need acceptance from patients and so their input early on in design, development, and implementation is essential. From the prospective of DIHI, the commitment to patient input may be served, in part, by incorporating patient advocates as part of their advisory board.

@NannetteSC: Krishna Udayakumar @Duke_Medicine makes point of need for internal reformation before fortress is stormed, so can embrace change #DIHI2013

3. We must be willing to disrupt ourselves: I just loved the analogy from Head of Global Innovation, Duke Medicine, Krishna Udayakumar that called our current healthcare organizations fortresses–resistant to change and highly protective of the status quo–despite acknowledging that change is needed. Acceptance of real and meaningful change must be embraced from within.  A loss of revenue, jobs, and stability may come with that change. Those experienced in implementing innovation can attest, that this is often required for meaningful change to occur. Some of those changes may not be successful; some may be flat-out failures. Again, failure is a requisite part of real innovation. When speaking of healthcare, all too often, the conversations come around to how unique and different healthcare is, but when it comes to innovation–there are universal lessons that healthcare must embrace for real change to occur. As Uwe E. Reinhardt, the James Madison Professor of Political Economy and Professor of Economics at Princeton University, so clearly put it, healthcare institutes must be willing to lose profits for real reform to happen. In fact, his most recent post in the NY Times, Waste vs. Value in American Health Care, is worth a read!

Beyond these three key takeaways, I’ve included below some of my other favorite tweets from the conference. Are there other key concepts you feel are fundamental in terms of helping to shape real disruptive, not incremental innovation in healthcare? Please share your thoughts.

@NannetteSC: Kicking off #DIHI2013 | It takes a community of innovators to fix a #healthcare system – Brodhead @DukeU

@wingofzock: Academic medical centers must lead charge in #hcr because are trusted and have all necessary elements, says Reinhardt #dihi2013 #meded

@NannetteSC: Abernethy: Continuity of info that #EHR provides is critical to tell the patient’s story so we can best manage their healthcare #DIHI2013

@NannetteSC: We will innovate for everyone, not just the west. – Witty @GSK #DIHI2013

@NannetteSC: Innovation also requires acceptance of failure – for those with or without money – Witty @GSK #DIHI2013

@dihi2013: Uwe Reinhardt “the intellects that created the need for healthcare reformation are not the ones that will solve it” #dihi2013

@NannetteSC: Loving Reinhardt’s very frank comments about how #healthcare institutes must be willing to lose profits for real reform to happen #DIHI2013

@KellyA10: #DIHI2013 I’m excited to hear whether innovation will address the 70+% of healthcare $$ spent on largely PREVENTABLE chronic disease

@NannetteSC: .@A_Bounoughaz As @claychristensen has said we need real disruption, not incremental change in #healthcare #DIHI2013 #innovation

@NannetteSC: Sad reality – patients are an afterthought in the #healthcare industry – that must change sooner than later to see real reform! #DIHI2013

@MikeWoodard: “Real” healthcare reform will come from medical professionals & practitioners, not politicians. -Mark McClellan #dihi2013

@NannetteSC: Succeeding in health innovation isn’t easy, clinical leadership is critical – need public’s trust – McClellan @BrookingsInst #DIHI2013

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