Since the launch of Brigham Innovation Hub (Brigham iHub) one year ago, many innovative dreams have turned into reality and are now changing the way health care is delivered.
David Bates, MD, MSc, senior vice president, BWH Quality and Safety, and co-executive sponsor of the Brigham iHub, said part of the reason the Brigham iHub has been so successful is because there are many people in the BWH community who have great ideas.
“We have a very deep talent pool,” he said. “The role of the Brigham iHub is really to play a match-making and development function to connect those with ideas to others who can help develop them, such as engineers and programmers.”
Take Twiage for example. YiDing Yu, MD, a resident in BWH’s Department of Medicine, and her team, consisting of an Android and Google Glass developer and an MIT engineer, were able to bring their expertise together at Brigham iHub’s first hackathon last year and pitch their idea for a web-based platform that could deliver more accurate emergency information between ambulance drivers and awaiting hospitals. Already utilized by South Shore Hospital, Twiage has plans to expand into a handful of other Massachusetts hospitals later this year.
“What I love to do more than anything else is create opportunities for growth. It’s really rewarding to be able to do that in a place where that growth is improving patient care and saving lives.” – Lesley Solomon, executive director, Brigham iHub
Another Brigham iHub success story is that of Sophia Koo, MD, BWH Division of Infectious Disease. She had an idea of using a breathalyzer to detect aspergillosis, a fungal disease affecting the lungs. This project, which has now turned into a company, was first pitched to the Brigham iHub. In a previous write-up on Brigham iHub’s website about the diagnostic innovation, Koo attributed much of the success of her device’s campaign to the help of the Brigham iHub, saying that the Brigham iHub helped to map out the process for acting on an idea and bridge the gap between ‘academic’ and ‘business builder.’
Brigham iHub Background
The Brigham iHub, an innovation center that launched during last year’s hackathon, brings together clinicians, scientists, programmers, engineers, designers and others into the same space to “disrupt” business as usual for the purpose of redesigning and improving patient care.
Since its inception, Brigham iHub has hosted events including two hackathons, a Shark Tank competition for start-ups, and an innovation series with the pulmonary and critical care department. These events are exactly what the Brigham iHub team hoped its center would be able to accomplish.
“From the hackathons, a number of great ideas have emerged and several are likely to turn into small companies,” said Bates. “The Shark Tank was a big win, as it was another way for BWH to work with small companies seeking clinical test beds.”
Ready for Takeoff
Lesley Solomon, executive director, Brigham iHub, said she’s excited about Brigham iHub’s future and looks forward to engaging even more BWHers from various departments to share their ideas. The Brigham iHub has launched a blog and is marketing an “Idea Share” page on its website that allows anyone from BWH to submit an idea for the Brigham iHub team to help explore.
“To me, this is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Solomon. “What I love to do more than anything else is create opportunities for growth. It’s really rewarding to be able to do that in a place where that growth is improving patient care and saving lives.”
Also looking ahead, Melissa Spinks, manager of innovation strategy and operations, Brigham iHub, said she wants the Brigham iHub to be a resource for people who have never innovated.
“I want it to be a place where people feel like they can reach out,” she said. “We want to be the resource for people on everything from education on how to identify a problem to connecting them with industry partners and team members.”
Pothik Chatterjee, manager of strategy and ventures, Brigham iHub, said one year later the Brigham iHub has already begun to gain a foothold in the Brigham culture, with “proven resources, expertise, events and networks necessary to transform an idea into something tangible.”
“The Brigham iHub was created at the ideal time to the credit of BWH President Betsy Nabel, MD,” he said. “The health care industry is changing dramatically and is ripe for disruption, creating enormous opportunities for health care organizations to stay ahead of the curve.”