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Innovation in Healthcare: OhioHealth’s Innovation Institute

Yesterday afternoon, the minds responsible for innovation at GSW and iQ took a field trip to Columbus-based Riverside Hospital, part of the OhioHealth System. OhioHealth, one of Ohio’s largest health systems, houses over 16,000 associates, 2,400 physicians, and nearly 3,000 volunteers.

But it wasn’t the hospital we were visiting; it was an opportunity to meet the brilliant minds behind their Center for Medical Education and Innovation (CME+I). Founded in 2006, the Center’s mission is simple: improve healing and patient safety in a safe environment. It was out of the challenges and frustration clinicians face on the medical floor that CME+I was born. OhioHealth has a passion for transforming that frustration into change.

Today that means clinicians can use CME+I to test products, ideas and processes in one of many simulators and labs. Along the way, the OhioHealth Commercialization Team works with them to research the market for the product and help the innovator access outside funding. That’s right, OhioHealth itself does not have a financial stake in the innovations, as all products and ideas are owned by the innovator; the team is a support system.

Since 2006, Commercialization Team has worked with innovators to vet 130 ideas. Eleven of those ideas evolved into new product companies, and 7 have become products now in clinical use. How’s that for accelerating innovation in healthcare?

Inside the Institute

Exam Rooms

Exam Room

CME+I is the home for several variations of labs and exam rooms, all of which are equipped with microphones and video cameras that allow educators to observe from afar and even replay simulations (much like coaches do with athletes during film sessions). In fact, they go as far as hiring professional actors to serve as patients, family members, attending physicians, and any other combination of exam room situations.

(Pictured above: Notice the microphone hanging from the ceiling, center of photo)

SimSuite’s Simantha

SimSuite Simantha

An endovascular simulation system, this simulation features a cognitive approach to patient care that delivers comprehensive training experiences. It seems that Simantha has something to offer every type of clinician, from nurses and technologists to experienced attending physicians.

The purpose of the simulator is to provide increased patient safety by providing the ability to practice endovascular procedures in a realistic yet risk-free environment.

Virtual Care Unit

Virtual Care Unit

Promoted as the first of its kind, the Virtual Care Unit features four separate clinical areas: an operating room, trauma unit, ICU, and a standard patient room. The units surround a central control room where educators and technicians can lead and manage simulated situations behind one-way glass.

Not real enough? Each of the rooms feature human patient simulators that can be programmed to react in any combination of 72,000 physiological ways. In fact, the human simulators even breathe in oxygen and breath out CO2.

What We Learned About Innovation From OhioHealth

Ask “why not” instead of “why”

While meeting with directors and physicians that manage innovation and commcercialization, one theme was apparent (and even mentioned by one person); instead of asking “why” should we pursue a solution, ask “why not?” Sometimes an innovation that improves healthcare isn’t always a solution to a specific challenge but an entirely new idea or way of doing things. Don’t be afraid to pursue.

Be easy to work with

The team prides itself on being easy to work with. In an industry that typically has large amounts of red tape and bureaucracy to navigate, this group simplifies that process with a small staff and an openness and ambition to support new ideas and products.

Integrate with the community

Infrastructure is critical. CME+I is housed in Columbus, Ohio, home of many initiatives to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation in the region. OhioHealth has formed a strategic partnership with Tech Columbus, a catalyst for technology-driven economic growth, to help the company’s innovators receive funding and support for their product ideas.

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