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Tag: Innovation

What Do You Mean, “Innovation”?

BY KIM BELLARD

One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. Among the many great quotes is one from Inigo Montoya, who becomes frustrated when the evil Vizzini keeps using “inconceivable” to describe events that were clearly actually taking place. “You keep using that word,” Inigo finally says. “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

So it is for most of us with the word “innovation” – especially in healthcare.

What started thinking me about this is an opinion piece by Alex Amouyel: Innovation Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does.  Ms. Amouyel is the Executive Director of Solve, an MIT initiative whose mission is “to drive innovation to solve world challenges.” It sees itself as “a marketplace for social impact innovation.”    

In her article, Ms. Amouyel notes that traditional definitions of innovation focus on the use of novelty to create wealth. She doesn’t dispute that view, as long as “wealth” includes the less traditional “community wealth,” which includes “broadly shared economic prosperity, racial equity, and ecological sustainability.” I suspect that innovators like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk don’t ascribe to that view of innovation.

Ms. Amouyel’s view is: “For me, innovation is about solving problems. And if innovation is about solving problems, what problems you are solving and who is setting about solving them is key.” She notes the multiplicity and difficulty of both global and community-level problems that we face, and urges: “Most urgently, we should zero in on problems that affect the most underserved among us.”

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We Love Innovation. Don’t We?

BY KIM BELLARD

America loves innovation.  We prize creativity.  We honor inventors.  We are the nation of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Jonas Salk, Steve Jobs, and Stephen Spielberg, to name a few luminaries. Silicon Valley is the center of the tech world, Hollywood sets the cultural tone for the world, and Wall Street is preeminent in the financial world. Our intellectual property protection for all that innovation is the envy of the world. 

But, as it turns out, maybe not so much. If there’s any doubt, just look at our healthcare system.  

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Matt Richtel writes in The New York TimesWe Have a Creativity Problem.”  He reports on research from Katz, et. alia that analyzes not just what we say about creative people, but our implicit impressions and biases about them.  Long story short, we may say people are creative but that doesn’t mean we like them or would want to hire them, and how creative we think they depend on what they are creative about.  

“People actually have strong associations between the concept of creativity and other negative associations like vomit and poison,” Jack Goncalo, a business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the lead author on the new study, told Mr. Richtel. 

Vomit and poison?  

A previous (2012) study by the same team focused on why we say we value creativity but often reject creative ideas.  “We have an implicit belief the status quo is safe,” Jennifer Mueller, a professor at the University of San Diego and a lead author on the 2012 paper, told Mr. Richtel.  “Novel ideas have almost no upside for a middle manager — almost none, The goal of a middle manager is meeting metrics of an existing paradigm.” 

You’ve been there.  You’ve seen that.  You’ve probably blocked a few creative ideas yourself. 

The 2012 research pointed out: “Our findings imply a deep irony.  Prior research shows that uncertainty spurs the search for and generation of creative ideas, yet our findings reveal that uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most.  Moreover, “people may be reluctant to admit that they do not want creativity; hence, the bias against creativity may be particularly slippery to diagnose.”

In the new study, participants were given two identical descriptions of a potential job candidate, except that one of the candidates had demonstrated creativity in designing running shoes, but the other in designing sex toys (the researchers note: “the pornography industry plays a significant role in the refinement, commercialization, and broad dissemination of innovative new technologies”).  The participants explicitly rated the latter candidate as less creative, although their implicit ratings showed equal ratings.  

The researchers concluded:

Collectively, the findings strongly support our contention that implicit impressions of creativity can readily form, be differentiated from a traditional explicit measure, and uniquely predict downstream judgment, such as hiring decisions, that might be relevant in an organizational context.

This matters, they say, because: “the findings of study 4 seem to square with real world examples of highly creative people who were ignored until well after their death because their work was too controversial in its time to be recognized as a creative contribution…”

Umm, anyone remember Ignaz Semmelweis?

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Pandemics Are the Mother of Invention

By KIM BELLARD

If, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, then you’d have to say that the COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be the mother of invention and innovation.  And, like Isaac Hayes sang about Shaft, it is a “bad mother…(shut your mouth).”

Many believe that the Allies won WWII in large part because of how industry in the U.S. geared up to produce fantastic amounts of weapons and other war materials.  It took some time for businesses to retool and get production lines flowing, during which the Axis powers made frightening advances, but once they did it was only a matter of time until the Allies would prevail.

Similarly, COVID-19 is making scary inroads around the world, while businesses are still gearing up to produce the number of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), tests, and other badly needed supplies.  COVID-19 is currently outnumbering these efforts, but eventually we’ll get the necessary equipment in the needed amounts.  

Eventually.  

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Who’s in Your Supply Chain?

By KIM BELLARD

Tesla is now, by market cap, the second largest auto manufacturer (after Toyota).  Its market cap exceeds U.S. auto makers Ford, G.M., and Fiat/Chrysler — combined.  This despite selling less than 400,000 vehicles in 2019, a figure that is more than the prior two years combined.   

Tesla has made its bet on the future of electric cars.  It didn’t invent them.  It isn’t the only auto manufacturer selling them.  But, as The Wall Street Journal recently said

Investors increasingly see the future of the car as electric—even if most car buyers haven’t yet. And lately, those investors are placing bets on Tesla Inc. to bring about that future versus auto makers with deeper pockets and generations of experience.

 A recent analysis suggested a big reason why, and its findings should give those in healthcare some pause.  Tesla’s advantage may come, in large part, from its supply chain.

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Why Healthcare Needs Designers

By TINA PARK, MFA

Designing a functional lamp is simple. Building the Mars Rover is complex. Getting a doctor to ask the right questions so that a patient feels confident about their care in a highly regulated and time constrained environment? That’s complicated.

Healthcare is filled with complicated challenges. Increasingly, healthcare companies and institutions are attacking these challenges with cross-disciplinary teams — doctors, data scientists, marketers, quality officers, financial experts, information technologists, and more. An often missing member of these teams are design leaders. Designers can provide an invaluable role in healthcare, but too often healthcare does not take advantage of all that design can offer.

Good design is invisible. Think about the last time you obtained or purchased something that was well designed. When you get a new blender, you plug it in and turn it on without looking at the user manual, and it works. You don’t necessarily think “Wow, they put that on button right where I thought it would be.” You use it and get on with your day. And every day you use that blender, putting in new mixtures of fruits and vegetables. Sometimes you get a delicious jackpot mix and think this is the best blender ever. Sometimes you get something brown and sticky and you make a mental note never to try that one again, even as you choke it down.

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9 Healthcare Companies Who Changed the 2010s

By ANDY MYCHKOVSKY

In order to celebrate the next decade (although the internet is confused whether its actually the end of the decade…), we’re taking a step back and listing our picks for the 9 most influential healthcare companies of the 2010s. If your company is left off, there’s always next decade… But honestly, we tried our best to compile a unique listing that spanned the gamut of redefining healthcare for a variety of good and bad reasons. Bon appétit!

1. Epic Systems Corporation

The center of the U.S. electronic medical record (EMR) universe resides in Verona, Wisconsin. Population of 13,166. The privately held company created by Judith “Judy” Faulkner in 1979 holds 28% of the 5,447 total hospital market in America. Drill down into hospitals with over 500-beds and Epic reigns supreme with 58% share. Thanks to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and movement away from paper records (Meaningful Use), Epic has amassed annualized revenue of $2.7 billion. That was enough to hire the architects of Disneyland to design their Google-like Midwestern campus. The other amazing fact is that Epic has grown an average of 14% per year, despite never raising venture capital or using M&A to acquire smaller companies.

Over the years, Epic has been criticized for being expensive, non-interoperable with other EMR vendors, and the partial cause for physician burnout. Expensive is probably an understatement. For example, Partners HealthCare (to be renamed Mass General Brigham) alone spent $1.2 billion to install Epic, which included hiring 600 employees and consultants just to build and implement the system and onboard staff. With many across healthcare calling for medical record portability that actually works (unlike health information exchanges), you best believe America’s 3rd richest woman will have ideas how the country moves forward with digital medical records.

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YTH Live 2020

By ERIN MCKELLE

There are many public health conferences that focus on young people, or that center around youth issues, but very few that actually include the young people’s voices that we are claiming to uplift as public health professionals.

There are also very few conferences that emphasize innovation in healthcare, that are pointed towards solutions rather than discussing problems at length without clear ways of solving them.

These core issues are at the heart of the annual YTH Live conference. Each year (we’re on our twelfth!), we showcase the boldest technologies in health and cutting-edge research in all facets of youth health and wellness. We also have attendees that range from IT professionals to high school students, with over 25% of last year’s attendees and speakers being young people themselves.

YTH’s Communications Coordinator Erin McKelle has first-hand experience of this. “I first attended YTH Live when I was a senior in high school. It was the first conference I ever spoke at and all of my fears about being the only young person in the room were quickly put to rest, once I saw that YTH plans a youth conference that actually centers around youth voices,” she says. “I’m proud to now be working for the organization years later, after serving on the Youth Advisory Board, paying the mission of youth empowerment forward to the next generation of youth leaders.”

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Announcing Winners for the RWJF Innovation Challenges

SPONSORED POST

By CATALYST @ HEALTH 2.0

Three finalists for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Home and Community Based Care and Social Determinants of Health Innovation Challenges competed live at the Health 2.0 Conference on Monday, September 16th! They demoed their technology in front of a captivated audience of health care professionals, investors, provider organizations, and members of the media. Catalyst is proud to announce the first, second and third place winners.

Home and Community Based Care Innovation Challenge Winners

First Place: Ooney 

Second Place: Wizeview

Third Place: Heal 

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Pilot Your Technology with Help@Hand

SPONSORED POST

By CATALYST @ HEALTH 2.0

According to the California Health Care Foundation, from 2012-2014, nearly 20% of Californian adults who sought mental health treatment did not receive it. It is believed that these figures may even be understated, as The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has cited that nearly 60% of American adults with mental illness do not receive any treatment. Unmet mental health needs in California are attributed to a lack of access to appropriate services and providers, as well as the cost of care, a factor that is often exacerbated by a lack of health insurance.

While traditional mental health services play an important role in supporting those in need, novel technologies can complement standard care delivery and provide individuals and communities with more accessible and optimized mental health services that focus on prevention, early intervention, family support, and social connectedness. 

The Help@Hand Project is a California statewide collaborative project to bring technology-based mental health solutions to the public mental health system through a highly innovative “suite” of digital solutions. The project aims to expand access to mental health services by engaging and treating individuals that are underserved in the current traditional care delivery model. With technology becoming an integral part of everyday life, the collaborative hopes to leverage familiar devices as means to connect and better serve those in need. This Help@Hand project will utilize applications on smartphones, tablets, digital devices, or computers as a tool to engage, support and give access to treatment using innovative virtual engagement strategies. Focus areas include:

  1. Peer Chat and Digital Therapeutics
  2. Virtual Evidence Based Therapy Utilizing an Avatar
  3. Passive Data Collection for Early Detection and Intervention
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Can Rah-Rah, Blah-Blah and Meh Accelerate Digital Health Innovation?

By MICHAEL MILLENSON

Can combining health tech “rah-rah,” health policy “blah-blah” and the “meh” of academic research accelerate the uptake of digital health innovation?

AcademyHealth, the health services research policy group, is co-locating its Health Datapalooza meeting, rooted in cheerleading for “Data Liberación,” with the National Health Policy Conference, rooted in endless debate about policy detail.

Sharing a hotel room, however, does not a marriage make. In order to get better digital health interventions to market faster, we need what I’m calling a Partnership for Innovators, Policymakers and Evidence-generators (PIPE). As someone who functions variously in the policy, tech and academic worlds, I believe PIPE needn’t be a dream.

The potential of digital health is obvious. Venture funding of digital health companies soared to $8.1 billion in 2018, up 40 percent from 2017, according to Rock Health, with another $4.2 billion invested during the first half of this year. Meanwhile, MedCityNews proclaimed 2019 “the year of the digital health IPO,” such as HealthCatalyst and Livongo.

Separately, Congress has sought to speed digital health innovation through bipartisan efforts such as the 21stCentury Cures Act and the formation last year of the Bipartisan Health Care Innovation Caucus. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also pursuing innovator and advocacy group input on regulatory relief.

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