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TMC Innovation News

More Than Just Tech: How Houston’s Smart Hospitals Are Embracing Tech Innovations That Improve the Human Experience

4 Minute Read

Hospitals know that remaining at the forefront of optimal patient experience and outcomes means making space for innovation.

In today’s digitized world, innovation often takes the form of integrating new technology into existing workflows to increase efficiency, resilience, or efficacy.  Innovation, however, comes with inherent risk. It’s about asking questions, being open to feedback, and trial and error.

Innovators are prepared for multiple failed iterations on the path to success. But failure in healthcare comes at a high cost. When it comes to adopting a new tech solution, hospitals are looking for evidence that the value of this solution outweighs any potential risks they are taking on. What is the specific problem that is being addressed?  What will the payoff be if this technology is successfully adopted into health system operations? How will it be an upgrade from the current gold standard? What have the creators done to de-risk the investment for health systems? Have they considered the ways in which their product will impact the current workflows of each user involved?

If a novel technology is applied towards deeply understood healthcare problem(s), and if the creators of the technology have demonstrated an understanding of how it can feasibly be integrated into health system operations, then that solution has a significantly greater likelihood of being successfully brought to market and adopted into health systems.

Entrepreneurs are playing a growing role in health innovation.

The researchers, tech experts, and business leaders working together to develop new solutions to needs in healthcare. These startups not only need to build and test effective new solutions against well understood problems, but they also need to create a plan for how those solutions will be paid for, operated, and integrated into a clinical setting.

“TMC Innovation understands that novel technological approaches are only successful if the problem(s) that they are addressing are well understood, and the approach to implementation and commercialization is based on an appreciation of the customers needs.  We work closely with entrepreneurs to ensure that these criteria are met before they engage with our hospital systems.”

Tom Luby, Director, TMC Innovation

Hospitals, however, also have a role to play as well. Health systems have the ability to decide that they are going to be an institution that embraces external innovation and makes space for new ideas from the outside in their operations.

Texas Medical Center member institutions are leading the nation in innovation and setting the standard for what smart hospitals can look like and how they will transform the healthcare landscape in the coming years.

Houston Methodist, for example, sprang into action during the height of the pandemic, thinking creatively about how emerging tech solutions could be applied to address the urgent need for virtual care solutions. Before the pandemic hit, the hospital had been working on a virtual ICU monitoring project that was originally scheduled to run for the entire year. Thanks to Methodist’s robust and systematized innovation development and implementation infrastructure, they were able to get that program running in two weeks, vastly improving their ability to deliver care in the ICU during the harshest months of COVID 19. Clinicians were able to use Edge technology on iPads and computers to monitor ICU patients without having to enter their rooms and risk unnecessary exposure. Methodist is now working on using this and other emerging virtual care tech to build a telehealth hub for the Houston area, improving access to care, particularly in rural areas.

As another example, MD Anderson leads the nation in innovative cancer care. They apply cutting-edge technology including virtual care solutions, machine learning-driven optimized operations, and patient-centric communication platforms to create individualized treatment plans that result in improved experiences and outcomes for patients battling cancer.

The most forward-facing health systems know that there is more to innovation than technology alone.

At TMC Innovation, we make the process of understanding a vendor’s potential value more efficient. We understand the immense pressure hospitals face just to keep up with the needs of the present before they can focus on the future. We appreciate the precise movements within the expansive, complex network of clinicians, technicians, administrators, and patients that keep health systems functioning and providing top-tier patient care. We know that one small change in this network can result in a ripple effect of changes throughout the entire system, so any changes adopted must make an effort to develop an implementation plan the minimizes the ripple effect, and they must offer improvements to care access or patient outcomes that are well worth the time and resources required to adjust the system.

TMC Innovation’s accelerators are designed to find and support founders and their companies whose solutions have the potential to meet these criterion. Our extensive and diverse network of researchers, clinicians, and business leaders uniquely positions us to serve simultaneously as market researchers, talent scouts, and trend-watchers.

We take on companies at all stages and use mentorship, talent sourcing, and resource sharing to help them move to the next level on their pathway to commercialization and implementation. Our accelerators help companies conduct clinically adjacent research and develop on a trajectory that is aligned with current health system priorities and workflows. We work to help de-risk the investment in a new tech solution so that hospitals can more confidently adopt new ideas and build up their capacity for innovation.

If you are a hospital executive looking to build a forward-looking culture of innovation within your health system, email us today at tmcinnovation@tmc.edu to learn more about what TMC Innovation can do to support you.

We believe in tech innovations as a tool to improve access to and quality of care, and we look forward to partnering with health systems that share our patient-centered vision for the future of healthcare.

 

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