Why health systems have a 'responsibility' for innovation

Health systems must become test-beds of innovation because they have the ability to gather smart people and push their ideas forward, former Cleveland Clinic Chief Innovation Officer Thomas Graham, M.D., tells Healthcare Informatics in a recent interview.

"I believe it's not only an opportunity, but almost a responsibility," he says. Healthcare facilities and academic research centers must pursue collaboration internally, but with a series of partners, especially to gain investment in the early stages of projects.

Requests for information about how Cleveland Clinic has been so innovative from other organizations even outside healthcare prompted it to put its lessons learned into a book, "Innovation the Cleveland Clinic Way: Transforming Healthcare by Putting Ideas to Work." Graham, who became chairman of the Lake Nona Institute in Florida this month, is its author.

He says that if innovation is going to add significant cost to care delivery, it's probably not going to take off. Any innovation must address access, quality, and/or cost.

What's more, Graham notes that Cleveland Clinic has been involved in strategic innovation, rather than the "lightning strike" episodic type of innovation.

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, M.D., touted progress on patient safety, satisfaction and emergency care at last summer's National ACO Summit. Part of the secret of the organization's success, he said, is its use of distinct measures for all its goals.

It not only tracks outcomes within the system, but publishes them in its annual Outcomes Books.

Cleveland Clinic is involved in the OpenNotes program, which enables patients to see doctors' notes in their records, and is using IBM's Watson to analyze medical problems and develop evidence-based solutions. Additionally, recent research on the health system's mobile stroke unit found it could shave precious minutes off time to treatment through the use of telemedicine.

To learn more:
- here's the interview