One of the major paradoxes in healthcare is that, despite broad recognition that relentless cost, quality and equity pressures are dominant drivers for significant change there remains only slow progress towards real innovation in care delivery.

Many reflect that the risk-averse nature of healthcare delivery is a major factor in this limited progress.  Yet healthcare is a hotbed of innovation in areas such as drug development, diagnostic devices, therapeutic technologies and surgical techniques.  Even as we build massive electronic medical record systems, the progress on how these information technologies can be applied innovatively to really change the way care is delivered has largely been slow and siloed.  It seems we are somewhat challenged to use the technology we have developed to change healthcare at the system level – that is, optimising the way the parts of healthcare work together to deliver the order of magnitude improvements in quality, access and cost that are desired and required.


Healthcare is a hotbed of innovation

The complexity of healthcare information, the highly federated nature of its control, and issues of privacy and security are all contributing factors to this situation.  Yet perhaps one of the primary inhibitors to achieving effective change is, in fact, ourselves.  We all have a strong compulsion to make sense of what we see, to make it conform to our own version of reality, or to employ a now somewhat overused term – our own “paradigm”.   This filter limits our ability to perceive and act on opportunities, making us selectively blind to potential collaborations and their solutions.

To assist in breaking this logjam we need to throw a spotlight on our biases.  We can gainfully interact with communities outside healthcare that have successfully innovated at a system level to draw upon, learn from and adapt the drivers and enablers of change they have experienced. This is the primary aim of this year’s Digital Hospital Design Forum to be held as part of HIC 2016.

At the forum we are bringing together leaders who have guided their organisations through times of massive digital transformation to talk about their journeys.  We have been truly fortunate to gather together Lee Hatton, the CEO of UBank, Robert Saint, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) at Flinders University, and Jeffrey Atizado, the cofounder of SMB consultants, one of Australia’s leaders in retail cloud transformation.

Our aim is to create an engaging conversation with the audience on the underlying innovation processes that exist in other sectors and how they reflect into the healthcare space.  As a complementary exploration we will then hear from three leading Australian hospitals to understand their digital transformations.  Bruce Winzar will look at the delivery of a digital hospital in a rural environment, Zoltan Korai at a metropolitan hospital, and Michael Drahiem will talk to the digital transformation of a brownfield site. The audience discussion that follows will distill the common features that made all these stories successful.

We are seeking to advance our understanding of innovation, identify trigger opportunities for potential digital transformation, challenge some existing views, chip away at biases, and enthuse the participants to have the courage and insights to successfully deploy innovative digital initiatives in their own organisations.

What do we hope will be the outcome of this activity?  At a minimum we hope it will cause all of us to question how we innovative.  But what we really hope is that it will broaden the community that we innovate with, and create new opportunities for projects to be created that will be lower risk, more agile and better aligned to the needs of care providers and the patients they serve.

lovelock_brendan100pxWritten by Dr Brendan Lovelock, DHD Chair at HISA

HISA’s Digital Hospital Design Forum happens at HIC every year.  This year, the 7th DHD is on Monday 25th July 2016 at HIC in Melbourne.  Don’t miss this great program and the fantastic networking opportunity.