Harvard Forum On Healthcare Innovation


Forbes recently published a report on a healthcare innovation forum sponsored by the business and medical schools at Harvard University.  The results are interesting, reflected in the Forbes article via the “Top 10 Quotes” from the event.  Below are segments from some of those and our reflections on them.

Support For Home Health Care - Caduceus

The title of the report issued is “5 Imperatives,” which are –

1. Making Value The Central Objective
2. Promoting Novel Approaches to Process Improvement
3. Making Consumerism Really Work
4. Decentralizing Approaches to Problem Solving
5. Integrating New Approaches Into Established Organizations

We could not agree more with each of these imperatives of what is needed in health care innovation.  In particular, we are huge believers in 2, 3 and 5, above, as absolutely requirements if health care reform is to truly occur.  Just jazzing up traditional health care approaches with new phrases and tweaks ain’t gonna cut it.  We have to try new methods and new players partnering in new ways.

The first quote from the Forbes article is,

We need approaches to the solutions that aren’t just arithmetic and additive, but are in some sense logarithmic. This will require us to reach across historic boundaries and unlock the potential of collaboration across the usual disciplines. Jeffrey S. Flier, MD – Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Harvard University

There is much in this statement that we like.  Reaching across historic boundaries is an absolute requirement.  What is very disappointing in the quote, however, is the notion of collaboration “across the usual disciplines.”  WRONG!  Collaboration has got to start taking place across all the usual ones and non-clinical disciplines that are outside the traditional health care self-concept.  Non-clinical home care is often the means by which health care can most frequently and most easily support patients, driven / guided by clinicians.  So, to Dr. Flier, please think outside even the biggest box you can find.

The second quote dovetails very well with the first:

If you think about how healthcare is delivered, it’s on an ad hoc basis. Someone comes into a hospital, someone comes into a pharmacy, someone comes into a doctor. But beyond those touchpoints, the patients are on their own. There’s no real continuity of care. Christopher A. Viehbacher – CEO, Sanofi

This is a great point.  If traditional, clinical health care is going to continue to be the model for us, there will never be continuity of care.  Until clinical health care looks beyond its “borders” to the non-clinical caregivers – family and professional – and incorporates / integrates them into the health care team, continuity will be a fantasy.

I will talk about some of the other “Top 10 Quotes” in the next post.  Until then, best wishes.  Bert

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