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Teaching Hospitals Are the Best Place to Test Health Innovation

Harvard Business Review—November 21, 2014

Digital technologies such as electronic medical records, mobile devices, and analytics offer the potential to transform health care. Whether it's a patient using her smartphone to better manage her diabetes, a provider monitoring a patient for arrhythmia remotely, or an electronic health-record system alerting a clinician of a potential drug allergy, digital technologies can create meaningful value for patients and practitioners alike.

Yet there are significant barriers to the development and adoption of such technologies that academic medical centers are uniquely positioned to overcome.

One of the primary barriers we see in digital health is the difficulty that start-ups face in accessing real-world hospital settings during the technology-development phase. These settings are critical for testing and refining promising new technologies to meet the needs of clinicians in high-stakes, complex environments. Academic medical centers provide the resources and environment where new solutions can be conceived, tried, measured, and refined before being brought to market.

A case in point is how an interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Steven B. Haas, chief of the knee service at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City, developed a web-based technology that prevents errors in the operating room (OR) and reduces the incidence of wasted orthopedic implants. Dr. Haas teamed up with an entrepreneur to form a company that developed the technology in conjunction with HSS. In 2013, Dr. Haas and HSS decided to develop a solution and together created what is now known as OrthoSecure, which employs bar-code-scanning technology in conjunction with a robust database of orthopedic implant components.

For more information, please visit hbr.org.


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