A good idea is just an idea—until it finds champions to make it a real-life innovation. Institutions across Partners HealthCare are energized to embrace that spark. That was the vision behind the launch of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Digital Innovation Hub (iHub) in 2013, when 72% of surveyed BWH employees said they had an innovative idea but didn’t know how to make it a reality.
On September 12, the BWH iHub community joined with the broader medical innovation community to celebrate iHub’s five-year anniversary, with an event fittingly held at the Hale Building for Transformative Medicine. There, more than 200 clinicians, scientists, iHub alumni, and entrepreneurs engaged in panel discussions and noted the advancement at BWH—and beyond—made possible by iHub. Since launching in 2013, the space has helped a wide range of innovators launch and advance projects focused on using technology to streamline hospital operations, improve care delivery, and enhance the patient and employee experience.
"We are aspiring to drive the safest, most patient-centered and efficient care through the use, development, evaluation and commercialization of digital health solutions."- Adam Landman, MD, chief information officer of Brigham Health
An opening panel featuring iHub Founder Lesley Solomon, MBA, SVP Innovation, Chief Innovation Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, highlighted the past, present, and future progress enabled by the innovation initiative, noting the significant accomplishments achievable with even the smallest teams focused on the same goals. Subsequent panels proved the point with discussions on the opioid innovation cluster created at Partners; ways to enable the innovation journey; and visions for the future of digital health. A closing keynote by Richard Zane, MD, Chief Innovation Officer, University of Colorado Health, led into an Innovation Expo where ideas in the iHub pipeline were presented.
Since its founding, iHub has helped to launch quality-improving innovations, many spurred through ideas sparked in the course of patient care. One such example is Herald Health, an idea whose seed was planted during the third iHub Hackathon in 2015 by Brad Diephius, MD, MBA, a former BWH resident. Diephius had watched his physician colleagues struggle to talk to their patients while sifting through a large amount of patient data coming from various sources. The information overload made it hard for physicians to determine which pieces of data were most important, and tools displaying the patient information were cumbersome and unfriendly. Diephius and co-founders developed a platform to push the most pertinent care information to providers when they need it. The company was incubated by iHub, piloted at Boston Children’s Hospital, and was recently acquired by Persistent Systems.
Lesley Solomon, who was honored at the event with the inaugural Disrupting Medicine Award for her contributions and leadership, says that part of iHub’s strength is in separating this type of high-potential idea from the noise of a crowded digital innovation space—and in its dedication to moving those good ideas forward.
“You just have to go for it,” she said. “You just have to start doing things.”
Photo credit: Lightchaser Photography / J. Kiely Jr.