AHA Center for Health Innovation: Innovation collaborative delivers valuable insights on evaluating technology

October 8, 2020

COVID-19 has profoundly disrupted health care, forcing provider organizations to rapidly innovate to address a wide range of clinical, access and safety challenges. Integrated digital technologies and quickly evolving devices have assisted greatly in planning, surveillance, testing, contact tracing and expanding virtual care, but finding the right solution hasn’t been easy in this maelstrom.

As most hospitals and health systems have found, the process of evaluating, selecting and implementing technology solutions largely determines success — especially when time is precious and need is great. Experts from the AHA Center for Health Innovation’s Innovation Collaborative, a cohort of leading organizations that convene regularly to share best practices and solve common challenges, recently shared the following insights on how they approach technology evaluation.

“Evaluating technology solutions — startups or mature providers — is similar to scouting college athletes for a professional sports team. The technology scout has to build criteria based on the needs, priorities, gaps and interests of that hospital and then apply them consistently across all prospective prospects.”

— Omkar Kulkarni, chief innovation officer, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

“Picking technology solutions is like marriage. The more time you spend dating, getting to know each other and avoiding surprises, the better the marriage will be. In short, (1) really know what you want; (2) understand what you are getting and not getting with your partner; and (3) think about how this partner will fit into your overall ecosystem today and in the future.”

— Nick Reddy, chief technology officer, Baylor Scott & White Health, Dallas

“Most technology shops with any degree of sophistication have robust tech scouting capabilities. At any given time, we have tech scouts scanning not only for what is commercially available, but also for emerging solutions from startups and research groups. For the health care ecosystem to evolve and expand, this sort of active engagement by all parties is essential.”

— Angela Yochem, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Novant Health, four-state network with headquarters in North Carolina

“When considering technology partnerships, it is important for the Saint Luke’s team to continue to visualize where we want to go as a health care system and the benefit we want to bring to our communities. It serves as our north star as we continue to expand our innovation capabilities to better assist our clinicians and improve our patient care.”

Anthony Fangman, M.D., MBA, division chair hospital medicine, co-director of Innovation Center, Saint Luke’s Health System, Kansas City, Mo.

“Technology collaboration creates action. Action creates motivation. Motivation creates innovation. At Geisinger, we believe the essence of an innovative culture begins with deep-seated teamwork.”

— Karen Murphy, chief innovation officer, Geisinger, Danville, Pa.

“Participation in the Innovation Collaborative has reinforced our need to identify problem areas first, then source technology solutions. Too often, it is easy to invent problems when you find an interesting technology. To be effective in innovation, you must maintain constant discipline.”

— Jonathan Bandel, vice president of strategy and innovation, White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital

To learn more about collaborative efforts like this and to access tools and resources to help your organization continue to transform, visit the AHA Center for Health Innovation.