Safety & quality
Dr. Peter Pronovost
Chief quality and clinical transformation officer, University Hospitals
Pronovost has been at the forefront on the quality and safety movement for several years. During the COVID-19 outbreak, he spearheaded use of an innovation that tapped into a remote monitoring platform he helped co-found to monitor patients. Patients entering the ED with mild COVID-19 symptoms were discharged home with the remote monitoring system, which included an eight-day supply of disposable, single-use pulse oximeter sensors and access to an app that prompted users to input information such as possible fevers or shortness of breath. A pilot project was instrumental in helping convince CMS to revise payment policies for remote monitoring.
How do you identify opportunities for innovation?
We focus on the largest defects in value. In 2017, University Hospitals created our innovation division, UH Ventures, which harnesses the ideas from UH caregivers (employees) to potentialize new products and services that drive value for our patients, our health system or our community. UH Ventures also collaborates with outside organizations to deliver novel high-impact solutions or technologies that optimize care. UH. Key focus areas involve not only creating new patient-care therapies, but enhancing operational models of care, such as eliminating defects in value. An example of this means caring for a patient in the most optimal setting, which in some cases may mean their home rather than in a hospital.
What advice do you have for people who know how to get an idea in front of managers but may be afraid of failing?
Recognize that the healthcare industry has too many defects that impede optimal patient care, including costing too much and improving too slowly. A major barrier to innovation can be the usability of the technology. For many technologies, the technology is almost a commodity—the differentiator is the usability and how it fits into the workflow. Clinicians should be proactive in sharing their wisdom with technologists about what works in a clinical environment. In developing our home-monitoring system, we facilitated a daily and sometimes twice-daily call with the clinical team and the engineering and technology teams at Masimo to identify and resolve usability and workflow issues.
How do you keep focused on innovation during a crisis?
While the pandemic has certainly consumed valuable resources, it has also fueled tremendous innovation and collaboration, as teams across the country have joined together to respond to COVID-19 by innovating rapidly. So to me, the challenge is to keep this spirit of innovation and cooperation alive in a post-COVID-19 world. For example, we have seen great progress in the deployment and acceptance of telemedicine and home monitoring as a way to effectively and efficiently care for patients while improving value. By staying focused on optimizing patient care and eliminating defects in value, we ensure these innovations will have a lasting impact.