The Innovation Cell: Patient-Led Innovation

Editor’s Note: We recently met Neil Seeman at the Health Innovation Policy Summit where CARP presented our views on patients demanding more from the healthcare system. We were intrigued by the potential for this cutting edge research to maximize the value we get from our healthcare dollars so we asked Neil to summarize his work for you

The new Health Strategy Innovation Cell (“Innovation Cell”) focuses on low-cost, low-tech solutions to make the user experience in healthcare perfect. There are three legs of Innovation Cell activity that draw on social media tools:

(1) research that explores the World Wide Web to discover how patients want to experience amazing healthcare;

(2) simple “Web 2.0” user interfaces that collect constructive low-cost and low-tech ideas from the public, and that socialize the importance of showing gratitude to people who have made a difference to the care experience; and,

(3) engaging underrepresented groups in “unconferences” to brainstorm about low-tech, low-cost healthcare solutions. Based at Massey College at the University of Toronto, the Cell’s vision and early research on the power of “health 2.0” have been cited in the Economist Magazine. Cell participants are “agile students of disruptive innovation.”

Early Cell research appears in the May issue of Policy Options, suggesting new ways by which governments can communicate the importance of the healthcare innovation agenda to Canadians. The Cell communicates its ideas globally via Twitter, a National Post “crowdsourcing” column for healthcare innovations, and via innovation essays in Longwoods.

The Cell’s recent research in Policy Options observes that in this period of increasing fiscal constraint in health care, politicians emphasize “innovation,” yet they seldom define the concept for Canadians. Healthcare innovation can refer to breakthrough processes (emergency room flow), products (electronic health records), strategies (hospital bulk purchasing) or management (collaborative care models). All innovations serve the state’s interests in securing improved health and greater return on investment. How can governments improve how they communicate to Canadians why innovation matters? The Innovation Cell’s analysis shows that governments need to better demonstrate the future financial benefit from such investments. They also need to show how investments in innovation benefit individuals.

Please visit the Innovation Cell’s website to offer your ideas to improve the healthcare experience.

Agile students of disruptive innovation

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