6 Health Systems Investing in Digital Innovation

Interest in digital innovation is growing with an increasing number of hospitals funding healthcare startups, developing patient-facing technologies, and hiring Chief Digital Officers.

Improving patient experience is a key driver as hospitals build strategies to integrate electronic health record data with inputs from consumers that come from wearables and mobile apps.

But the pace of innovation varies by institution, with many CIOs citing budget constraints, the complexity of legacy systems, and organization culture as barriers to digital transformation, according to a Cognizant white paper, Prescriptions for Healthcare’s Digital CIOs.

Below are 6 healthcare institutions investing in digital innovation and some of their most recent and key initiatives.

Boston Children’s Hospital

The Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) at Boston Children’s is committed to “shaping the future of health care… through new technologies, collaborations with industry, and the development of a comprehensive digital health platform.”

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Children’s recently announced a joint initiative with General Electric to “produce software that will help doctors more accurately interpret brain scans of young patients,” according to the Boston Globe.  Other IDHA initiatives include a real-time social media monitoring app to improve patient experience and a Dyslexia screening app.

Spectrum Health

This mid-sized Michigan-based health system has launched a new venture capital fund, Spectrum Health Ventures, llc, which is poised to invest up to $100M over the next decade in emerging healthcare innovations.

“It allows us to get even further on the cutting edge of where health care is going and where health is going. It moves us from just being a ‘health care company’ to being a ‘health company,’ Chief Strategy Officer Roger Jansen told MiBiz.com.

Providence Health and Services

The Digital Innovation Group at Providence describes itself as “a startup within a really large, traditional health care organization, challenging the status quo and changing the way medical care is delivered.”

Among its projects, a consumer facing on-demand healthcare platform called Express Care that allows patients to have same-day remote access to healthcare from connected devices, and a series of Telehealth solutions connecting rural hospitals and clinics to medical specialists for consultations.

The Group’s leadership team includes Aaron Martin, SVP of Strategy and Innovation, a former Amazon executive responsible for its Kindle eBook strategy.

University of California at San Francisco

The Center for Digital Health Innovation (CDHI) at UCSF made news recently announcing a partnership with Intel Corporation to “create a deep learning analytics platform that will deliver clinical decision support and predictive analytics capabilities to its users.”

According to CDHI Director, Michael Blum, MD, “ we can begin utilizing the same technologies that have made the driverless car and virtual assistants possible and bring them to bear on vexing healthcare challenges such as predicting health risks, preventing hospital readmissions, analyzing complex medical images and more.”

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

The Brigham Digital Innovation Hub in Boston launched in 2013 to “drive more seamless, efficient, patient-centered, and safe care for our patients through the development, evaluation, use and commercialization of digital health platforms and tools.”

Among its projects, the Hub has funded a smartphone-based test to assess male fertility. An initial study on the technology, published earlier this month, found researchers could measure the concentration and motility of sperm with 98 percent accuracy. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a consumer product that men can use to test their virility at home.

Miami Children’s Health System

The Miami Herald reports on the comprehensive innovation strategy within Miami Children’s Health System. The multi-pronged strategy includes an in-house program to identify and develop products and apps as well as a partnership with Digital Health Miami, a startup accelerator.

Babyscripts, which uses a “mommy kit” to collect data from expecting mothers and alerts a physician if there are abnormal results, is one of several startups that have worked with Miami Children’s. Another startup, called Aces Health, streamlines data collection efforts for clinical trials.

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