7 Recently Launched Healthcare Innovation Centers

In the past four weeks, three centers focused on healthcare innovation have been established and plans to build another three centers have been announced.

Editor's note: The innovation center launches are listed in the order they were reported. 

  1. University of California Irvine is working on a 200,000-square-foot medical innovation building that will contain teaching space and laboratories to advance research in the health sciences. In recognition of a $30 million gift from the Falling Leaves Foundation, the building will be named the Falling Leaves Foundation Medical Innovation Building.

  2. Washington, D.C.-based Children's National Hospital is building a research & innovation campus that is projected to add nearly 1,000 new jobs with a focus on research and science. The innovation hub will focus on finding new treatments for a range of children's health issues.

  3. Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University launched the Jefferson Center for Connected Care. The center's mission is to minimize the digital divide that can exacerbate existing health inequities by focusing on research, innovation and education to overcome barriers to digital access.

11 Fastest Growing Healthcare Jobs Over Next Decade — No. 1 is Nurse Practitioners

The demand for healthcare professionals is booming, projected to grow 16 percent in the next decade, CNBC reported Oct. 15.

The data is based on information published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and projects job growth from 2020-30.

Below are the fastest-growing healthcare jobs and their projected growth rates:

  1. Nurse practitioners — 52.2 percent
    Median pay: $111,680
  2. Occupational therapy assistants — 36.1 percent
    Median pay: $62,940
  3. Physical therapy assistants — 35.4 percent
    Median pay: $59,770
  4. Home health and personal care aids — 32.6 percent
    Median pay: $27,080

Nurses Bring Added Value to the Innovation Space

In collaboration with the American Nurses Association and BD, HIMSS hosted the third annual NursePitch™, a Pre-Seed and Series A competition at the HIMSS21 Global Health Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas.

NursePitch is designed to increase the voice, opportunity and visibility of the nursing audience in the digital health ecosystem by advancing nurse-led and nurse-developed innovation.

Nurses are central to patient care environments, creatively solving problems and offering unique solutions. Nurse-led innovation is essential for optimizing workflow and should be encouraged and supported by health systems, product suppliers and academic settings. Nurses bring added value to the innovation space through their consistent focus on patient safety and quality while maintaining a high standard of care.

McKinsey & Company: 61 Percent Agree Digital Health Services Should Improve Well-Being

On Oct. 12, the New York-headquartered McKinsey & Company published an article entitled “Digital health ecosystems: Voices of key healthcare leaders.”

The article states that “Amid the disruption of traditional medical care caused by COVID-19, some patients have found assistance via new online services, including digital bill submission, medical assistance, online teleconsultations, and online medications. Perhaps for the first time, these patients found themselves part of digital health ecosystems, which are networks of digital service providers that offer a single solution for users’ healthcare needs.”

That said, “This article analyzes data from an interview series with 22 key international industry experts, as well as with 81 participants of our ninth Digital Healthcare Roundtable, to explore the following three themes: why and when healthcare players seek to provide digital healthcare solutions, what kind of digital health ecosystem healthcare players should provide, and how the implementation of a digital health ecosystem should be approached.”

Survey: 51 Percent Say User-Friendly Tech is Essential for a Good Patient Experience

According to an Oct. 12 press release, Dublin, Ohio-based Updox, a Denver, Colo.-based EverCommerce solution and healthcare communication platform for in-person and virtual care company, released the results of a new patient experience survey.

The release states that “The data underscores the need for today’s healthcare providers to offer patients convenient communication options and user-friendly healthcare technology to improve patient engagement and satisfaction. The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Updox from August 31-September 2, 2021, among 2,076 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.”

The release reports that 51 percent of U.S. consumers polled say that user-friendly technology is crucial for a good patient experience.

Interoperability still a pain point for downside risk agreements

A new KLAS report shows hospital executives consistently describing two technology factors as key to their progress with population health and shared savings: strong integration and timely customization.

A new report from the KLAS
analytics firm examined the role downside risk contracts can play when it comes to improving outcomes and saving money.  

By working with population health management vendors, KLAS explored the ways organizations can use technology and buy-in to make "significant progress" toward value-based reimbursement.  

"Success with downside risk requires a lot of effort from provider organizations and their vendor partners, and both parties must be willing to put in the necessary work," observed researchers. "Leading organizations have collaborative relationships with their IT vendors and work in tandem with them to develop needed technology."  

"In some cases, organizations supply data to help train models, or they may develop functionality internally that is then integrated into the technology platform. This kind of development requires heavy internal investment from the provider organization," they added.

Health information technology and digital innovation for national learning health and care systems

Health information technology can support the development of national learning health and care systems, which can be defined as health and care systems that continuously use data-enabled infrastructure to support policy and planning, public health, and personalisation of care. The COVID-19 pandemic has offered an opportunity to assess how well equipped the UK is to leverage health information technology and apply the principles of a national learning health and care system in response to a major public health shock. With the experience acquired during the pandemic, each country within the UK should now re-evaluate their digital health and care strategies. After leaving the EU, UK countries now need to decide to what extent they wish to engage with European efforts to promote interoperability between electronic health records. Major priorities for strengthening health information technology in the UK include achieving the optimal balance between top-down and bottom-up implementation, improving usability and interoperability, developing capacity for handling, processing, and analysing data, addressing privacy and security concerns, and encouraging digital inclusivity. Current and future opportunities include integrating electronic health records across health and care providers, investing in health data science research, generating real-world data, developing artificial intelligence and robotics, and facilitating public–private partnerships. Many ethical challenges and unintended consequences of implementation of health information technology exist. To address these, there is a need to develop regulatory frameworks for the development, management, and procurement of artificial intelligence and health information technology systems, create public–private partnerships, and ethically and safely apply artificial intelligence in the National Health Service.

New AI tool prescribes best treatment for liver cancer

King’s College Hospital and Queen Mary University of London have developed an AI algorithm to classify drugs on their efficiacy in treating liver cancer.

Researchers at King’s College Hospital and Queen Mary University of London have developed an AI algorithm which can prescribe the most effective treatment plan for patients diagnosed with primary liver cancer.

The computer-based algorithm, named Drug Ranking Using Machine Learning (DRUML), classifies drugs used to treat bile duct cancer (a type of primary liver cancer), based on their efficacy in reducing cancer cell growth.

The research into DRUML was recently published in Cancer Research, an American Association of Cancer Research journal. Researchers say that the software could be used in the future to predict individual patient responses to therapies to enable them to select the most effective treatment plan.

Professor Pedro Cutillas, researcher at Queen Mary University of London, said: “Patients who are diagnosed with primary liver cancer often have a very poor prognosis. Cancers of the bile duct, in particular, exhibit great variation in their protein expression and characteristics from patient to patient. This variation results in patients displaying different responses to therapy. Hence why a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment is not the most effective way to reduce cancer cell growth and why we applied DRUML to this type of cancer.”

Hackensack Meridian, RWJBarnabas unveil $665M innovation and tech hub

Two New Jersey hospitals — Edison-based Hackensack Meridian and West Orange-based RWJ Barnabas — and two of the state's schools — Princeton University and New Brunswick-based Rutgers University — broke ground Oct. 14 on a hub for research, innovation and medical education.

Three details:

  1. The New Jersey Innovation and Technology Hub is in downtown New Brunswick, and its development costs total $665 million.

  2. Rutgers' medical school and translational research facility will be relocated to the development, which also will contain an innovation center and space for core partners to conduct projects.

  3. The innovation center is considered the cornerstone of the hub. It will provide a collaborative space for researchers, entrepreneurs and startups and will include an office, studio, conference facilities and wet and dry laboratories.

Can Predictive AI Fully Inform Patient Care Decisions?

AI-enabled clinical decision support must be built on a foundation of evidence-based medicine in order to truly be of use.

In recent years, the healthcare industry has fully embraced the potential for
artificial intelligence (AI) to transform healthcare practice and delivery. From the advent of big data to the arrival of EHRs, the industry is familiar with the hype that accompanies technology advancements. While these innovations have certainly been useful in many regards, healthcare remains deeply fragmented, inefficient, and prone to waste. 

Many experts believe that AI will deliver on the long-promised transformation of healthcare by providing the connective tissue that ties our other technology advancements together. The industry will finally be able to merge data from multiple sources to provide valuable insights at the point of care. Workflow advances and time-saving automation will help decrease the administrative burden for both providers and payers, while new consumer uses for AI-enabled healthcare will more effectively engage patients in their own care.

Apple Aims to Push More Patient Data to Doctors. But Who Can Gauge Its Impact on Health?

Soon, Apple announced recently, it will enable doctors to monitor health data from their patients’ phones and watches between visits, part of the push into health care that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has declared will constitute the company’s greatest contribution to mankind.

Over 100 types of data are available in Apple’s health app through iPhone, Apple Watch and third-party apps. In June, Apple said patients whose doctors work with one of the six electronic medical record companies participating in the new feature will be able to send them tracked data like heart rate, sleep hours, exercise minutes, steps, falls or menstrual cycle history.

Some see great promise in building “pipes” between a patient’s phone and the health records viewed by their clinicians. Apple is “democratizing the flow of health data” between doctors and patients, said Anil Sethi, a former Apple health director and current CEO of Ciitizen, a startup that manages health data for cancer patients.

2 EHR measures that can predict physician departures

Two key EHR use metrics can help flag which physicians are most likely to leave their position, according to a study published Oct. 12 in JAMA Network Open.

The researchers analyzed 314 physicians' EHR use data at a large outpatient practice network from March 2018 to February 2020, looking for measures that could be indicative of physician turnover.

The first measure they identified is the portion of a physician's EHR orders that were placed by other team members. Physicians were more likely to stay in their position when other members of the care team were contributing to their EHR work.

The second measure is the amount of time physicians spend managing their EHR inbox. Spending less time was associated with higher rates of turnover.

"That was a counterintuitive finding. Less time spent on inboxes could mean a physician is more efficient or that they have fewer patients, but we controlled for both of those possibilities and still came to the same conclusion," ​​Ted Melnick, MD, the study's lead author, said in a news release

The researchers said that prospectively tracking these measures could identify physicians at high risk of departure and allow for earlier, targeted interventions.

13 women making moves in healthcare leadership

The following leadership moves by women have been reported since Oct. 7:

Nina Beauchesne was named executive vice president and chief transformation officer at Hollywood, Fla.-based Memorial Healthcare System.

Kelly Braverman was named CEO of Lebanon, Ind.-based Witham Memorial Hospital.

Ophelia Byers, DNP, RN, has joined New Jersey-based Atlantic Health System as chief nursing officer for Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J.

Leah Carpenter was appointed executive vice president and COO of Memorial Healthcare System.

Patricia Fisher, MD, was appointed CMO of Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center in Brick Township, N.J.

Jackie Hunter has been named The University of Vermont Health Network's first chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Sally Hurt-Deitch, MSN, RN, CEO of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare's Mid-South Group, Memphis (Tenn.) market and Saint Francis Hospital-Memphis, was named senior vice president of operations at Ascension in St. Louis. 

Healthcare APIs: 3 Ways APIs Differ in Healthcare vs. Enterprise

The recent enforcement of new rules to encourage the freer flow of healthcare data mainly through application programming interfaces (APIs) has jolted providers and payers into action to meet interoperability standards.

However, the rush to comply with the new requirements and avoid penalties may blind them to the subtleties and complexities of healthcare contexts as well as the significant differences between building APIs in this space versus for enterprises.

As major investments in health tech companies show, APIs will be the future of health information exchange (HIE). These interfaces are emerging as the “backbone” of the digital health economy, with payers, providers, and healthcare technology companies expecting them to “become the glue that binds healthcare together”.

But if healthcare organizations do not take an industry-specific approach to API adoption, collective efforts to relieve the healthcare system of high administrative costs and information silos may suffer a setback.

Quadruple aim: More than half of hospitals plan IT spending increases to get there

Cloud-based technologies are the priority, says one Frost & Sullivan analyst, as health systems work to marshal data and deploy AI for quality improvement, cost reduction and improved patient and clinician experience.

A new
report from Frost & Sullivan finds more than than 50% of hospital respondents planning to boost their information technology investments as they manage their way through the pandemic and look toward a future with renewed focus on the imperatives of the quadruple aim.

With an eye toward improving health outcomes, streamlining costs and improving the healthcare experience for both patients and clinicians, most of the 349 provider-side IT decision-makers (from hospitals, ambulatory practices and residential care facilities) say they're making deeper investments in their digital health deployments.

The Frost & Sullivan report highlights some interesting specific areas of focus – top among them technologies for virtual visits and remote patient monitoring, as priorities shift to keeping patients out of the hospital.

Predictive analytics is another area of innovation of investment, the poll shows, as health systems' data management capabilities mature.