Middle East Business (English) - - FRONT PAGE - by Dr Am­jad Zaim CEO of Cog­ni­tro An­a­lyt­ics

The main pur­pose be­hind any health in­fra­struc­ture is that it helps us to live bet­ter, in other words, im­proves our well­be­ing. We wanted to show the va­ri­ety of is­sues the term health­care en­com­passes: phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, eHealth, blockchain se­cu­rity for on­line pa­tient records, global ‘well­ness’, and en­cour­ag­ing in­no­va­tion. We also look at well­ness mon­i­tors that en­able pro­fes­sion­als to keep an eye on how we are feel­ing.

In­no­va­tions are re­defin­ing our world. There’s not a sin­gle in­dus­try where in­no­va­tions have not rev­o­lu­tionised prod­ucts and ser­vices and trans­formed the ex­pe­ri­ence for its cus­tomers. This is very true in health, and our cur­rent health­care sys­tem is be­ing shaped and re­shaped by new and in­no­va­tive ways of de­liv­er­ing bet­ter and more af­ford­able health­care. Health­care has his­tor­i­cally been a pri­mary ben­e­fi­ciary of in­no­va­tions in other in­dus­tries. To­day, aerial drones and med­i­cal ro­bots make it pos­si­ble to bring med­i­cal ser­vices and sup­plies closer to pa­tients in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions and have the abil­ity to reach vic­tims who re­quire im­me­di­ate med­i­cal at­ten­tion within min­utes. 3D- printed de­vices can pro­vide lower- cost and highly cus­tomised med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy prod­ucts that can be tai­lored to suit the phys­i­o­log­i­cal needs of in­di­vid­ual pa­tients. These high-tech in­no­va­tions are in­spir­ing and ground-brak­ing, but in­no­va­tions don’t have to hap­pen in the R&D labs and tech­nol­ogy alone can­not solve the world’s health­care prob­lems. Healthy in­no­va­tions should be less about the recipes and more about its nu­tri­tious value, less about how it works and more about it helps. Health­care in­no­va­tions should be pa­tient cen­tric and should put the “care” back into health­care. Health­care in­no­va­tion can take on three dif­fer­ent forms. Prod­uct in­no­va­tion seeks to create new med­i­cal in­stru­ments or de­vices that will im­prove the clin­i­cal out­come. For ex­am­ple, a dis­solv­able metal­lic stent was re­cently in­tro­duced to limit com­pli­ca­tions fol­low­ing heart surgery. Process in­no­va­tions seeks to im­prove the method by which a health­care ser­vice or treat­ment is ad­min­is­tered. Health por­tals and apps al­low newly di­ag­nosed pa­tients to im­prove their out­comes

by con­nect­ing with and learn­ing from oth­ers who've gone be­fore them. Busi­ness model in­no­va­tion in­volves the in­tro­duc­tion of new plans with hor­i­zon­tal or ver­ti­cal in­te­gra­tion of sep­a­rate health­care or­gan­i­sa­tions or ac­tiv­i­ties. Of­fer­ing low-cost, high­d­e­ductible in­surance, for ex­am­ple, give mem­bers greater con­trol over their per­sonal health­care spend­ing. In­no­va­tions seek to create more con­ve­nient, more efec­tive, and less ex­pen­sive health­care ser­vice while in­creas­ingly em­pow­er­ing health­care con­sumers. Health­care in­no­va­tions are mainly driven by the re­al­i­sa­tion of a per­sis­tent prob­lem or an op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress spe­cific needs for mem­bers and pa­tients. The seeds for health­care in­no­va­tions are usu­ally planted dur­ing an end­less process of bounc­ing - and of­ten col­lid­ing - ideas dur­ing brain­storm­ing ses­sions spark­ing a con­certed re­silient cy­cle of test­ing, val­i­da­tion and eval­u­a­tion be­fore ma­te­ri­al­is­ing (Fig. 1). From idea stage to con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion all the way to tech­nol­ogy trans­fer and com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion, in­no­va­tion ac­tors can arise from the provider side, the reg­u­la­tor, re­search in­sti­tu­tions, fund­ing in­sti­tu­tions or a com­bi­na­tion of the above united be­hind the goal of ex­plor­ing the space of the pos­si­ble, and de­vel­op­ing an in­no­va­tion that solves a chronic prob­lem while cre­at­ing value for stake­hold­ers across the health­care sec­tor.

Re­duc­ing the cost of health­care while en­hanc­ing pa­tient ex­pe­ri­ence has spurred many in­no­va­tions around the world. One su­perb ex­am­ple was in a na­tional health­care sys­tems that had moved to dig­i­tal health ( or E- Health), anal­y­sis of health­care ex­pen­di­ture iden­ti­fied travel for rou­tine fol­low up from neigh­bor­ing vil­lages and ru­ral ar­eas amongst preg­nant women to be a ma­jor cost bur­den on the sub­sidised health­care sys­tem. A lo­cal startup soon recog­nised this op­por­tu­nity to har­ness tech­nol­ogy on smart phones to fa­cil­i­tate a daily re­port­ing of vi­tal signs of those preg­nant women. The app alerts doc­tors to cases where risk of preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions are likely. Much of the work went into de­sign­ing a sim­ple and easy to use app that pro­vided op­ti­mal user ex­pe­ri­ence from the preg­nant women's side, as well as an ef­fec­tive in­ter­face with stream­ing data and in­tel­li­gent re­port­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties for doc­tors to pro­vide med­i­cal ad­vices and prepa­ra­tions for de­liv­ery. The startup was able to gain spon­sor­ship by the reg­u­la­tor, at­tract fund­ing by in­ter­na­tional in­vestors and en­dorse­ment from the med­i­cal com­mu­nity. At the end, the sys­tem made it eas­ier for preg­nant and doc­tors to con­nect, cre­ated cost sav­ing for the health­care provider, and fur­nished the med­i­cal com­mu­nity with lots of data for clin­i­cal re­search. In gen­eral, in­no­va­tion re­quires a set of en­ablers that can pro­pel in­no­va­tions from idea to re­al­i­sa­tion to de­ploy­ment to mass adop­tion. Here we list the top three char­ac­ter­is­tics of an in­no­va­tive group or or­gan­i­sa­tion:


An or­gan­i­sa­tion that seeks to in­no­vate needs to con­sis­tently en­cour­age its team to think in a non- tra­di­tional man­ner in or­der to un­leash the full po­ten­tial of its creative minds and bring their ideas to the ta­ble. This has of­ten proven chal­leng­ing in or­gan­i­sa­tions where the risk of de­vi­at­ing from best prac­tices can be costly if not man­aged prop­erly. In health­care, many in­no­va­tions dis­rupt the clas­sic pay-for-ser­vice ap­proach and drive pay-for-qual­ity as a part of an over­all move­ment to­wards ac­count­able care prin­ci­ples.


No or­gan­i­sa­tions will fall short of ideas, but in­no­vat­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions need to con­sis­tently qual­ify, rank and pri­ori­tise these ideas be­fore test­ing them in the lab. To thrive with in­no­va­tions, or­gan­i­sa­tions must not only al­low for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to take its course but must also ac­cept some mar­gin of er­ror and show com­mit­ment to learn­ing from its lessons. This ap­proach is fun­da­men­tal to med­i­cal and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies where ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is in­sti­tu­tion­alised as part of R& D - but other or­gan­i­sa­tions are in­creas­ingly adopt­ing the same prin­ci­ples.

In­no­va­tion Cul­ture

Rather than sim­ply ac­knowl­edg­ing in­no­va­tion as and when it oc­curs on an ad hoc ba­sis, or­gan­i­sa­tions can drive in­no­va­tion on a con­stant ba­sis by cre­at­ing a cul­ture. This means high­light­ing what sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural changes need to be made in a com­pany to help in­no­va­tion be­come a more reg­u­lar and nat­u­ral oc­cur­rence.

Fig­ure 1. An Ex­am­ple of a Health­care In­no­va­tion Process

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