Building Innovative Health Care

Last Wednesday I attended the Galen Institute’s 4th annual conference entitled, “The Value of Innovation in Health Care.” One of most striking messages I took away from the conference was that the past must be built upon, not rested on. The essence of innovation seems to be trying to improve the situation given to us by implementing new and better ideas that haven’t been tried before. Grace-Marie Turner, the president of the Galen Institute, gave a direction for today’s innovation as she said that all medical decisions should be centered on the doctor-patient relationship – the nexus where all the policies and innovations meet, and affect the outcome of patient care. This, of course, should be the top priority for anyone within the field of health care.

Dr. Imran Andrabi, a renowned physician and hospital executive, stated that patient-centered care in hospitals will make the whole system within hospitals more efficient. He has put much effort into improving the patient experience where he has influence, and wherever his ideas have been implemented, there was overall improvement for both hospitals and patients. One change he made in a hospital involved being prepared when patients arrived for appointments. Every morning, the lab for running various tests that day was supposed to be prepared by 8 AM, which the hospital was doing well. However, Dr. Andrabi pointed out that appointments started at 6:30 AM, and patients sometimes had to wait. By changing the expectation to have the tests finished in time for the appointments, the productivity of the hospital increased. Innovations like this and others oriented toward patients were made because the focus was to build on the past rather than rest upon it.

Alex Azar of Eli Lilly and Company provided an excellent conclusion to the conference as he explained that we need a different perspective on the value of medical innovation. He stated that our lives may literally depend on the decisions we make today surrounding health care innovation. These important decisions being made by government leaders, health care companies, and doctors can be made clearer as they view what they’re doing through the lens of innovation. In doing this, constant improvements will be made. This is building upon the past.