Getting There: Developing Innovative Hospitals in the Middle East

An interview with Dr. Lisa Kennedy,
Adjunct Faculty Member,
Singularity University, USA

Q. In your opinion, what makes a hospital a good innovator?

A: Every hospital must consistently innovate and those who excel at this don't let the implementation of innovation disrupt good clinical care.

Great innovative hospitals are often magnet hospitals where the people come first with significant investment in hospital leadership and employee development.

We often believe technology is the central / only innovation but great hospitals look across people, processes, supply chain, financing, service and of course, technology to innovate.

It's driven by people who have the time and the drive to change things for the better but also have the mandate and support of those around them.

So really it's about:

1) Great people, culture and incentives with an openness to innovation. 2) Training on the implementation of new innovations with good clinical integration. 3) Effective decision-making process to evaluate whether a technology or innovation, no matter how good it is, could work in the individual hospital's environment.

Q: Can you share a case example of a recent significant innovation by a hospital that can be transferable throughout Healthcare?

A: There are a lot of great innovations out there that hospitals are implementing but 6 really stand out.

1) Digital Health: digital healthcare is really re-defining our definition of the hospital such that it won't just be limited to four walls but gives solid support outside of the hospital.

2) Internet of things: The 'internet of things' is coming to hospitals such that every element of what you do from hand washing to remote sensing of a CT machine can be monitored providing a real 'air traffic control' system for hospitals providing them a window to efficient care that hasn't been possible until now.

3) Patient Safety: Improved Patient safety initiatives focused around hospital design, hand hygiene and check-list manifestos are great and very cost-effective innovations for hospitals.

4) Genomics: Hospitals are also innovating phenomenally in the genomic space if you look at groups like MD Anderson and how they're able to characterize cancer and cancer pathways at a molecular level to completely change treatment choice and develop more tools to fight it.

5) Patient-Centric Care Innovations: One of my favorite innovations is from a children's hospital outside of San Francisco and it doesn't involve much technology but instead focuses on families. This hospital has started to utilize a patient's family as a defined part of the extended care team and this has changed how patient care is given at the hospital with promising results in outcomes and patient satisfaction.

6) Mental Health: You can't innovate enough in this space - whether it's better diagnosis, better patient management to better treatment. A great innovation that a lot of US hospital systems are just starting to use is Big White Wall which was developed in the UK NHS - it offers a toolbox to allow patients with conditions like depression to receive online counseling, education and a peer-to-peer networks. This is a huge innovation in mental health with more to come.

Q: What are some key learnings from the US that are applicable to the Middle East?

A: I think that training innovations and hub and spoke telemedicine systems are going to continue to be critical to the Middle East as they build out their hospital infrastructure. Developing the best doctors and nurses in the Middle East and continuing to give them access to advanced centers of clinical care will be critical.

I like some of the work that Lee Memorial on Texas does to train people all over the world especially in the area of cardiac and minimally invasive procedures.

Today there are so many tools out there that allow individuals not only to improve their training and knowledge but also access world leading experts as if they were right in the surgical theatre or office next door.