#BeyondTheBox | Healthcare: How to collectively bring innovation in healthcare

Written by Aakriti Pandey

The healthcare industry is in a whirlwind of changes. Not only is the full apprehension and embracement of these changes necessary, but it's also key to know that there is no magic wand to solve healthcare challenges. We are at an interesting time with innovations in healthcare where more and more practitioners are finding cross-industry values. From Healthcare and Education, to Healthcare and Technology, to Healthcare and Not-for-profits. This collaboration and synergy means solutions need to have a truly integrated approach.

On April 27, 2017, InnovatorsBox hosted its second #BeyondTheBox of 2017 in WeWork White House, where it invited four individuals from the industry who are #RethinkingHealthcare

In an innovation and fun filled event, there were attendees from a range of different sectors, including, healthcare, change management, policy-making, to attorneys and technical consulting. To see such a multi-faceted audience gather to learn and share about the changing Healthcare sector was stimulating and gratifying, and the expertise and insights the five distinguished speakers on the panel brought was immensely impactful, to say the least. 

Photo from Mindright.

Photo from Mindright.

Monica Kang, Founder & CEO of InnovatorsBox, hosted a series of Q&A to the speakers to dig deep and bring out the diamond that the Healthcare industry can be, however far it may seem at present. 

Alina Liao, Co-Founder & COO, MindRight

Alina, who focuses at the intersection of healthcare and education, has no formal healthcare background, and yet, she tackled a big issue in dealing with individuals who'd suffered from child trauma. She shares that it is important to not make assumptions on a solution, but instead, it's rather beneficial to speak to the community first hand. 

She shares that she reached out and spoke to students and social workers who suffered from PTSD, and found that there was a counselor-student ratio of 1:500. "Many children felt like they didn't have any help", Alina says, "and in fact, many felt like this was the way they were supposed to live".

The social dynamics and constructs don't help these children either as it makes them believe that living like that is normal. Add social pressures and exposure to violence in the mix, and it makes it harder for these children to seek help. At MindRight, her business model includes mobilizing resources around youth and schools, and while it may not be a solution to heal their problems end-to-end, it sure is an entry-point in allowing these children to express their emotions and receive some well-deserved advice.

Takeaway -> Access is a problem. However, it's important to first decide how you are going to get involved with a community. Be intentional and mindful about the communities you serve.

Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Associate Dean, George Washington University

Pierre, who has a hoard of multi-faceted experience, shares that we need to decide what do we need more of that is urgently needed at the intersection of health and education. Is what we teach in school applicable to the work that people end up doing after school? As we learnt in #BeyondTheBox Education earlier this month, it indubitably isn't. Furthermore, that our society is so focused on 'data' that we end up missing the 'stories' behind them. Pierre questions, "without ever speaking to anyone, are we truly able to understand what they need?

For Pierre, Residency gave him an opportunity to sit with people that would arguably share with him what they wouldn’t tell anyone else. This fueled insight to what people really experience to become different data points in datasets. Pierre believes that we often do a disservice in the classroom by not allowing our students to have real world experience. Education, therefore, needs to step up and provide practical applied skills.

Takeaway -> We need to think differently, get outside of our house, and be uncomfortable. Only then can we collectively play a larger role in developing better solutions in healthcare. 

Eva Powell, Founder & President, Common Purpose Health

Eva, with her expertise, background in social work, and a patient-centered approach, discusses how we often look at doctors being the “know it all”, when in the broader social context, we need to have the patient at the center. She says, "typically when the patient has a role in deciding treatment- the final outcome is less invasive and often less expensive—it ultimately is care that is right for everyone". And this requires the foundation of education, trust, and confidence.

Communities play a big role in building culture of health. As part of communities, we need to think about the leading causes of life…not the leading causes of death. Strong family and community structures actually make a big difference in recovery and health. If we can tap into strong communities, we can better harness those things that bring an individual into wholeness. Eva expresses this wonderfully.

"A rich guy with a house in the Hamptons dying of liver disease couldn’t be saved merely by his wealth.. and his wealth would make no difference if he survived. But for the man with little money from an underserved environment with a strong family and support system, that may have made a difference in his recovery."

Takeaway -> If we let the patient be part of their “outcome” and health decision making, we can bring better outcomes to healthcare overall.

BeNno Schmidt, Digital Services Expert, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Benno, who works to solve problems by using human centered design and patient centered care, shares that Healthcare solutions should include awesome design and Bureaucracy. "The truth is, the healthcare process and system is complicated", he says, "but the human being is a system—and as people, we too are complicated. We are at the beginning of understanding that the intersection of people and health is just complicated." We need to take our ego out of the solution, as we often tend to get in our own way by making bad assumptions.

We must look backward and forwards. We need to design healthcare as a service to people. If you watch good designers, you may see that they have a team of people watching peoples' reactions and interactions around them. They do not watch the designers. 

Takeaway -> We need to think about the big picture - combining systems thinking, user centered design, & participatory design.

Overall, it was a refreshingly powerful and active event. 

Our next stop on the journey of innovation will be on the 4th May 2017 at WeWork White House, where we'll be talking to some of the innovators of the Technology sector. RSVP below. We can't wait to see you there!

Learn more via video and photos!

Below is an infographic that provides a snapshot of some of the key nuggets from the event.