A Movement — A Collaborative Network of Health Innovation Leaders

Partners Connected Health’s CHIC team capturing the first of three filled-to-the-brim whiteboards capturing Fueling the Innovation Economy.

On Wednesday, October 25th, our dream of bringing digital health’s innovation community leaders together became a reality at the inaugural Fueling the Innovation Economy in Connected Health — An Ecosystem Approach event during the Connected Health Conference. In its first year, 150+ global healthcare leaders joined to design and kick-off a collaborative network of regional health ecosystems dedicated towards enabling the more rapid and sustainable adoption of innovative health solutions. It may sound like jargon, but this group took action.

We could probably write a novel on the insights, inspiration and takeaways from this kick-off event. Instead we have narrowed it down to our top 11 highlights (featured in no particular order...)

  1. HHS wants your technology to help them solve big problems. We were thrilled to have Bruce Greenstein, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, keynote the event. During his address he announced the HHS Opioid Code-a-Thon taking place Dec 6–7th. They are looking for solutions related to opioid use, treatment and misuse prevention with $30,000 to be given out in prizes! He impressed us with his take on collaboration: “We’re trying to make it very easy for innovators to come and work with [HHS],” informing the audience of programs such as an HHS Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program (EIR) and Startup Days (the first expected to launch in Washington DC in January 2018).
  2. Entrepreneurship is the one condition payors want to be infected with. PULSE alum Cake, and PULSE Champions, City of Boston, Massachusetts eHealth Institute and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, spoke on A Digital Health Innovation Case Study where they discussed their public-private partnership approach to digital health implementation and how it is truly possible to work quickly with government. From initial meeting to go-live with the City of Boston was only 31 days! As HPHC Chief of Innovation & Strategy, Rick Weisblatt, put it, “If Cake was going to infect us with innovation & entrepreneurship, that was an infection we wanted. We wanted to work with startups who are on the cutting edge of innovations.
Cris De Luca, Global Director, Digital Innovation, Johnson & Johnson Innovation

3. Ideas are everywhere. We heard from Cris De Luca, Global Director, Digital Innovation, Johnson & Johnson Innovation about the Private Sector Perspective. J&J embeds itself in the innovation ecosystem with a no strings attached philosophy because “an idea can come from anywhere, and our approach is to be part of the community that creates them.” said De Luca.

The health innovation house, drawn with guidance from Robin Glasco: keep your eyes shut and your pen never leaves the paper.

4. Can you draw a better healthcare? Showing off our doodling skills thanks to a Payor Perspective on digital health by Robin Glasco, Chief Innovation Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. While leading us as we drew an “innovation house” (with our eyes closed), Robin spoke on how there has never been a time where there are so many eyes on healthcare (including entrepreneurs, corporations, government leaders, etc.). Following their artistic renderings, the participatory audience looked to the left and to the right discovering no two doodles appeared the same. “Each person carries a different perspective… you need to keep the door open for partnerships. The only way to transform healthcare is through partnerships,” Glasco asserted.

5. #NursesRock. One of the biggest tweets of the day came from Alexandra Pelletier, Senior Manager of Global Innovation, Deloitte, as she moderated a panel on From Innovation to Transformation — Evidence-Based Digital Health. The most successful projects have nurses involved. We couldn’t agree more about the need to have innovators from throughout the care team.

6. Simple is better. There are immense challenges in healthcare said Ashish Atreja, Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Rasu Shrestha, Chief Innovation Officer, UPMC and Executive Vice President, UPMC Enterprises. “Complexity is the bane of healthcare today…and design thinking is a solution to address this complexity,” said Shrestha. Atreja adding, “we learn from each other, that’s how we get better at everything we do.”

The “Four C’s” from the 1776’s Innovation that Matters Report (where Boston is ranked as the #1 city for innovation — for the 2nd year in a row!)

7. Commit. Connect. Cultivate. Champion. We heard from the authors of the 1776 Innovation that Matters Report (where Boston is ranked as the #1 city for innovation!) that “when it comes to innovation ecosystems, connectivity drives growth,” Margaret Shepard, Managing Director, 1776. In general, ecosystems that perform best have the “Four C’s.”

8. It’s time to get radical! Mike Biselli, Founder, Catalyst HTI discussing the power of inclusivity in his Opening Remarks–Innovating Healthcare Through the Power of Community.“If you are passionate about reimagining healthcare, you have a seat at our table.” Key takeaway: Lets reimagine healthcare together! By the power of community we can build something greater than ourselves.

Mike Biselli (right) leading his roundtable and welcoming his table to the #pinksocks tribe, changing the world from the ground up.

9. This is an engaged community. During the roundtables on Healthcare’s Innovation Sticky Points we discussed topics such as Value Based Healthcare Adoption, Innovating at Large Organizations, Interoperability & Scaling and Key Relationships in the Ecosystem. Facilitators joined from 1776, Catalyst HTI, Cedars-Sinai powered by Techstars, Dell Medical Innovation Center, Health 2.0, Healthbox, HealthX Ventures, HITLAB, Nashville Healthcare Council, Spry Labs, Massachusetts eHealth Institute, startupbootcamp — Digital Health Miami, and the U.S. Department of Commerce. We heard visions for a collaborative focused on making positive impacts on health infrastructure and culture. Solutions included building common accelerator curriculums, standardizing BAA’s and IRB’s, sharing deal flow, and supporting growth across ecosystems. Through these continued discussions, it will be fun to focus our efforts and make a real impact.

10. We have to work together to solve challenges. We heard from the speakers, roundtable facilitators and audience that we cannot change healthcare without each other. Through this event we convened the nation’s health innovation leaders to establish a collaborative network of health innovation hubs. The focus of the collaborative is to accelerate health innovation by building and scaling best practices in a nation-wide effort that improves the lives of patients.

Patricia Mechael, EVP PCHAlliance — photo credit: PCHAlliance

11. Remember this is all about the patient. As we heard throughout the day from various speakers, none said it better than Patricia Mechael, Executive Vice President of the Personal Connected Health Alliance, “health, if nothing else, is highly personal.” We can all do our part to make this experience a lot more human and individual.

Stephen Konya speaking at Fueling the Innovation Economy — photo credit: PCHAlliance

When are we meeting next?

All are invited (and encouraged) to meet in-person at the HIMSS annual conference this March 2018. Make sure you are registered for the PULSE@MassChallenge newsletter so we can let you know about any additional details as they become available. LET’S DO THIS.

Fueling the Innovation Economy in Connected Health — An Ecosystem Approach was co-chaired and organized by Stephen Konya, Senior Innovation Strategist, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Nick Dougherty, Program Director, PULSE@MassChallenge, Personal Connected Health Alliance (a HIMSS organization), and 1776.