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St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center

Advancing Excellence

Apr 1 2013
Using the "Crowd" to Solve our Toughest Challenges

Recently I was asked to join the Advisory Board of the Raymond von Dran Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator (IDEA) program at Syracuse University (the entrepreneur program). Last year, I helped judge a business competition of young, dynamic inventors.  At the end of the competition I remember saying, where are the health care entrepreneurs? Since that time I have seen an explosion from the community of inventors, turning their attention to the challenges of health care.

New applications seem to launch every day using iPhones, and other small devices, to monitor blood pressure, identify dermatology problems and monitor care remotely. Inventors, particularly engineers, offer a great opportunity to help us solve some of our toughest challenges in clinical care and technology.

We have always had physician and clinical inventors looking at better surgeries, better devices, better robotics.

Now we need help on other key opportunities: reducing infections, improving communications and flow using technology, maximizing physician and clinical staff in an era of shortages through telemedicine and tele monitoring, reducing infections and hospital acquired conditions, improving community health.

As I read how larger companies are solving these big challenges, they are going to the "crowd" the larger community of entrepreneurs and inventors, opening their doors to ask, across a bigger crowd, can you find answers to these bigger challenges?

When 15,000 people look at a problem, versus one person in Syracuse, N.Y., it likely gets solved.

How do we all engage the broader community in these conversations? how do we embrace innovation? We are getting better at finding and adapting best practices, but we need to solve these challenges faster. We cannot take another five years to study infections, we need to solve these challenges this year.

In this month's Harvard Business Review is a great article on, "Community Powered Problem Solving," by Francis Gouillart and Douglas Billings, that describes use of business partners to solve these challenges. 

A few years ago Welch Allyn brought us a new product, we told them what we didn't like about it, they listened and came back with an even better one that wowed us.  We now have their integrated headboard in many areas of the hospital.  

We need to accelerate our innovation and outreach to look for help in places we might have not in the past to solve our health care challenges. We owe it to our patients.


1 Comments so far

Ann Ferro April 1, 2013 at 01:42 pm

Yours in an invitation to share ideas is just what "the doctor ordered." Many clinical and non clinical staff as well as patients and visitors have expressed ideas about different, if not better (?), procedures, practices, etc. Perhaps competition is the way to go or perhaps their are other incentives that will encourage sharing of ideas. Whatever, your call is a good start.

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