There’s a new home for medical innovation at BWH.
BWH innovation Hub (iHub), a newly established center, promises to bring together clinicians, scientists, programmers, engineers, designers and others into the same space to “disrupt” business as usual for the purpose of redesigning and improving health care.
“The iHub will harness the power of our community’s inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Barbara Bierer, MD, senior vice president of BWH Research and director of the Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. “Innovation happens every day at BWH, but there hasn’t been an infrastructure at BWH dedicated to these entrepreneurial efforts, until now.”
BWH iHub will serve as an incubator for innovative projects at BWH by providing staff with support; establishing connections with outside experts or internal partners; and offering business analytics, resources, space and tools that will bring ideas from creation to commercialization.
“We believe that, by bringing people together and providing these resources, the iHub will enable BWHers to reinvent health care,” said David Bates, MD, MSc, senior vice president for Quality and Safety, and co-executive sponsor of the iHub, along with Bierer. “If we are going to deliver better care at lower cost, we will have to lead in care innovation, and the iHub will be central in making our innovations spread and become part of the fabric of the care we deliver.”
Ready, Set, Hack
BWH iHub will launch its first major event, a hackathon at BWH, later this month, with MIT H@cking Medicine. From Sept. 20 to 22, more than 100 clinicians, scientists, programmers and others from BWH and other organizations, will gather in the Shapiro Conference Center to collaborate intensively on projects that will ultimately improve care delivery.
Problems within the health care system and innovative solutions that will improve care will be pitched at the start of the day on Saturday, and teams will form to work on selected projects through the event.
“This event will bring together inventive, forward-thinking minds to change the status quo and create positive disruptive solutions in health care today,” said Lesley Solomon, director of Strategy and Innovation for the BWH Biomedical Research Institute.
These solutions may be as straightforward as a wireframe sketch, or might require running to a local store for parts to build a prototype, or reaching out to a physician to ask a pressing question for a mobile app.
“Participants will end the weekend with a team, new connections and prizes with potential access to BWH’s iHub resources, and a hack on its first steps towards disrupting health care,” said Solomon. “Past teams at hackathons just like this one have gone on to start companies, enter business plan competitions, join an accelerator and secure venture funding.”