Collaborative Spaces: Facilitating Research And Innovation In Healthcare

By: Shanza Anwaar

The TechNext 2013 Conference ignited discussions, introductions, and a growing awareness of the need for innovation in healthcare.  In partnership with NSERC CRSNG, and Rogers TV, the Altitude Accelerator organized the event to bring together professionals from the healthcare and tech industries to discuss how to incorporate ICT in health, discover resources available for innovation and practical business opportunities for early and mid stage companies.  Chief of Staff at Trillium Health Partners, Dr. Dante Morra, believes entrepreneurs need to collaborate closely with clinicians, patients and healthcare practitioners in ways that not only solve healthcare issues but give entrepreneurs a competitive edge.

Dr. Morra impressed on how space must be created to make innovation in healthcare a reality.  Social networking platforms are one such “virtual space” to facilitate and engage discussions on the fundamental issues affecting the healthcare sector.  In a survey carried out by IBM, 58 CEOs of hospitals, medical practice groups and insurers say they foresee that “knowledge will be shared so that nurses, pharmacists and social workers can often perform tasks that are handed to doctors by default”.  Moreover, CEOs also see technology as a way to make healthcare organizations that are more collaborative and visible in order to easily share cultural values and goals.   Integrating social media platforms are one such tool to increase sharing of company knowledge and values.  For instance, eye-care company Bausch & Lomb has utilized an “internal social platform that allows their international sales agents to log in and collaborate based on their experiences in the field”. The platform has become indispensable to the company for presenting information on competitive and market issues in an instantly available format.they anticipate patients afflicted with rare illnesses to build online communities and discuss their symptoms on social networks.

Lastly, physical spaces that promote healthcare innovation such as Toronto’s Centre for Innovation in Complex Care (CICC) or the Peel region’s Trillium Health Partners are key in connecting the healthcare community to improve healthcare technologies.  Dr. Morra explains how Trillium Health Partners’ Research and Innovation program engages healthcare stakeholders to:

“Comprehend and educate themselves on current research and innovations influencing health care as well as build a bottom-up innovation shop where novel designs solve issues affecting health system planning, patient outcomes, integration and organization”.

Investing in research and innovation is thus, key to bridging the innovation gap in healthcare.

Shanza joins the RIC team as a Social Media Intern. Pursuing two undergraduate majors in anthropology and professional writing at the University of Toronto Mississauga, Shanza is also a co-editor and content writer at the Digital Enterprise Management Society. She hopes to make her mark as a Social Media Consultant.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal and professional experiences. Visit Altitude Accelerator for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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