Freed Associates

First Innovation Lab Launched at the 2015 HIMSS Healthcare IT Conference

TOPIC: Events

Author: Alan Little

On March 2nd, nearly 300 professionals attended HIMSS’ first Innovation Lab in Los Angeles. Attendees learned how healthcare provider organizations are becoming more directly involved in solving the industry’s vexing operational issues – as opposed to being spectators in the process of transformation.

For organizations that haven’t committed to their own innovation efforts yet, the conference provided real-world examples of how successful programs are being built, managed, and measured. Previous models of change were characterized by a reliance on vendors to work through internal ideation and development models. By comparison, these new healthcare players are leveraging both direct access to users (representing the voice of the customer) and environments where they can test and refine their concepts.

The goal of the HIMSS Innovation Lab was to bring together organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to innovative healthcare IT products and services. The event assembled a vendor hall that showcased the solutions of proven IT partners. Notable speakers included David C. Rhew, MD (Global Healthcare Samsung SDS America) and James Brady, Ph.D., FHIMSS (Kaiser Permanente). Panel discussions on “Models for Innovation” and “Innovation in Healthcare Delivery” with multiple industry experts introduced new compelling insights and perspectives.

Healthcare IT Innovation Forecast and Commitments 

While the event didn’t specifically outline what we should expect to see in the next few years, it did provide an impressive display of commitment – in both highly talented resources and large capital investments. It further demonstrated how many disparate, non-profit organizations are cooperating to drive change, and, in the process, create for-profit commercial offerings. Many conference speakers presented a model for using their own organizations for testing and early adoption.

Summation Health Ventures (a partnership between Cedars-Sinai and MemorialCare Health System) explained how their interest is investing in “start-up, privately held, early- to mid-stage companies in the areas of information technology enabled services and devices.”

Other impressive panelists came from the St. Joseph’s/Bon Secours Health System’s owned “Innovation Institute,” and UCLA, whose mission is to “identify, pilot and deploy high-value innovations that deliver better health and greater value to more people.”

In addition to local healthcare provider participants, industry giants Samsung and Qualcomm were well represented by their investments in technologies that allow clinicians to identify who (in a cohort of patients) is in the greatest need of care at any given moment. This ability to “ manage by exception ” significantly stands to improve efficiency and outcomes. Both companies offered insights into how technology enablers can be coupled with clinical process changes to introduce significant improvements in monitoring patients with chronic conditions.

The prevailing goal of all 2015 HIMSS Conference participants – regardless of how they were formed and funded – was appropriately encapsulated by Summation Health Ventures’ Brant Heise: “to improve quality of care, enhance patient and clinician experience, and decrease the cost of care.”


Alan Little is a Freed consultant with 15+ years experience in healthcare business development, practice leadership, and strategy planning for data, operations, and technology. He previously worked as the Corporate Development VP for SCAN Health Plan, during which time he formed the Center of Innovation and served as Chairman of the IT Governance Committee.