Reflection on Innovation Centers Summit

December 17, 2014 5:16 pm
Posted By: Chun Wong

The proliferation of information technology in the last decade in the realm of healthcare delivery signifies a disruptive change in the way healthcare businesses are organized and care is delivered. Increasing investments in healthcare IT (HIT), the passing of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), and the successful defense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the Supreme Court all contributed to the implementation and reliance on healthcare IT.

The fast-paced change in the US healthcare landscape has led to various meetings of leaders of healthcare innovation like the 4th Annual Innovation Centers Summit in Newport Beach, hosted by The Innovation Institute and Blueprint Healthcare IT. Approximately 50 attendees from across the spectrum of healthcare innovation, from large commercial groups such as NorthShore-LIJ to academic biomedical research centers from Johns Hopkins.  I attended on behalf of the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, a center of excellence at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, that works in collaboration with industry and government affiliates to research, analyze, and recommend solutions to challenges surrounding the introduction and integration of information and decision technologies into the healthcare system.

During the Summit meeting of intellectuals, practitioners, and entrepreneurs, the prominent discussion revolved around incubating and nurturing early ideas to full blown commercial success. Youseph Yazdi of Johns Hopkins CBID lectured on the importance to have a cyclical cycle of discovery, improvement, and stakeholder engagement in the area of biomedical development. Katherine Steinberg of the UCLA Institute for Innovation in Health expounded on the importance to have a uniform and fair process checklist for the criteria of project selection.

Of particular interest is the structure and framework NorthShore-LIJ’s group of internal entrepreneurs, North Shore Ventures. Sander Duncan of North Shore Ventures explained how NorthShore-LIJ leveraged their vast corporate resources and sheer number of employees to “mine” innovation. They built up a framework of innovation from sourcing to commercializing ideas. They have standing committees of stakeholders and physician partners to contribute feedback and improve solutions. A team of lawyers and a set of tailored legal documents are ready to go, reducing overhead cost to incubate a new idea.

All the frameworks and projects discussed by the various centers and entrepreneurs at the Innovation Centers Summit revolved around reducing cost and expanding access, the most significant issues in healthcare today.

Problems in the U.S. healthcare, like limited access and high cost, are not recent discoveries. However, the growing adoption of healthcare IT gives the industry a unique opportunity to affect positive change in the form of new care delivery models and new decision-making tools by leveraging the growing volume of data and the ubiquity of electronic devices in the healthcare space. For example: consumer wearable devices are increasingly adopting health, fitness, and wellness features; large-scale data mining in acute, ambulatory, and even the longitudinal records are helping to treat chronic conditions before they become acute.

Amongst the entrepreneurially spirited at the summit, there was discussion on the efficacy of placing health services “kiosks” are high trafficked locations, like the mall, in a bid to improve access. It is clear that the future direction of healthcare is providing easier access to care services outside of the clinic and hospital. Coincidentally, at around the same time of the summit, Kaiser Permanente, the largest HMO in the U.S., announced a partnership with Target Corporation, piloting Nurse Practitioner-run clinics at five Target retail stores in California.

The healthcare industry is undergoing a major retooling of skills and resources, of which innovation centers are a major component. If the fuel of all this change is the changing incentives, then innovation centers (with a solid innovation framework) is the car. A generic framework for healthcare innovation involves four basic components:

  1. The Source of Healthcare Innovation
  2. The Method of Soliciting Innovation
  3. The Process for Development
  4. The Process for Commercialization and Deployment

The key takeaways and prominent discussion points of the summit were:

  • The industry is moving to a longitudinal care model to support the lowering of healthcare costs and improving access.
  • The recent changes in incentives are part of the drivers of this change.
  • Healthcare innovation groups need to have solid legal and corporate support in order to successfully grow an innovate idea to commercial success.
  • Social benefit should be broken down to the financial gain by direct revenues or financial proxy. The firms with the most resources to pursue innovation development are those firms which are more lean than not, and require the hard numbers.
  • Engage with the entrepreneurial providers and have them be on-call to contribute and support the cause.
  • There are still significant barriers in healthcare to the business/”financial” way of doing things. But this barrier is being diminished as more of the successes in healthcare following more business-focused principles, e.g. lean.

About the author

Chun Wong is a first year MBA student at the Smith School of Business with a focus in Healthcare Information Systems. Chun holds a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from Binghamton University. He previously worked at Epic, an electronic health records vendor, managing technical analysts and partnering with customers to improve their deployments. He is interested in leveraging innovations in health IT to reduce provider workload, improve patient outcomes, and boost patient engagement. Specifically, the available volume of underutilized healthcare data embodies great potential care benefits. Chun hopes to work on projects that commercializes IT capabilities and innovations in the domain of healthcare delivery.


  1. Gordon Gao says:
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Great job!

  2. says:
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. says:
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree!

  4. pcrowley2008 says:
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Seems a good way to foster innovation, assuming diversity of opinions represented.

  5. says:
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink


  6. Tao says:
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink


  7. Harshit says:
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi test