Consistent with its mission to foster innovation and high-quality patient care, BWH continues to seek partnerships with international health care organizations to identify and develop new relationships. BWH recently signed separate agreements with the regional government in Halland, a province in Sweden, and The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Israel. The Swedish agreement will provide the framework for Halland’s health care system to develop a health care strategy around emergency and acute care delivery in the region. The Israeli agreement will help to foster medical and health care entrepreneurship and innovation between the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and BWH.
Emergency Care in Halland
The agreement, which was signed during a special ceremony in Boston on Feb. 2, will provide the framework for Halland’s health care system to develop a health care strategy around emergency and acute care delivery in the region. BWH will assist Halland in analyzing their system and understanding its true drivers of cost and quality. In addition, BWH will help Halland design patient care and case management interventions aimed at helping the province to deliver better care and control costs.
Halland government officials will work closely with BWH, specifically with the Division of International Emergency Medicine, to gain knowledge about research in health care delivery and services and clinical research in emergency medicine and acute care in order to materialize a strategy by October 2016. The strategy will be centered around getting patients the appropriate care at the right time. This will be made possible, in large part, by building better linkages between primary care, emergency departments, specialists and home health/rehabilitation service providers. The agreement also includes components where BWH will assist Halland with developing a robust research infrastructure and making collaborative research between BWH and Halland a reality.
Representatives from Halland met with leaders from BWH before the ceremony to discuss the goals of the partnership.
During the ceremony, held at the Inn at Longwood Medical Center, BWHers Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH, chair of Emergency Medicine (ED); Allen Smith, MD, MS, president of the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization; and Philip Anderson, MD, director of International Collaborations in the Division of International Emergency Medicine and Humanitarian Programs, spoke about the benefits of the collaboration.
VanRooyen said that Halland and BWH are experiencing similar pressures, specifically within emergency departments, given the changing demographics of the patient population, more complicated diagnostics and the changing ways that health care institutions must address increased utilization, technology, testing and costs.
“It’s a really interesting time for us to talk to you and learn about your experiences because we are facing similar demographic population costs and other shifts in our own health care system,” VanRooyen said to representatives from Halland who were present at the ceremony. “This is a great chance to develop colleagues and friends across the Atlantic and do some really interesting work together.”
Smith agreed and emphasized the importance of the mutual learning concept: “We are in a new realm of health care for so many reasons and to learn from each other is incredibly important.”
Innovation in Israel
BWH, through the Unit for Innovative Healthcare Practice & Technology and the Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice, signed an official agreement in July 2015 with The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Israel to foster medical and health care entrepreneurship and innovation based on shared knowledge and skills.
According to Ronen Rozenblum, PhD, MPH, director of the Unit for Healthcare Practice & Technology at BWH, this collaboration will enable innovation by establishing mutual programs to engage and support outstanding medical/health care students and clinicians in the field of medical entrepreneurship in both institutions.
The collaboration informally began two years ago under the direction of Rozenblum and David Bates, MD, MSc, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at BWH, who helped the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology host its first health care hackathon. Following that, Rozenblum and Bates hosted the winning team in Boston; helping them to move forward with their innovative project.
“The idea behind our first initiatives with the Technion was to enhance significantly the chances of these talented students and clinicians to turn their winning idea into a real product and business,” said Rozenblum. “The Israeli winning hackathon teams are coming to the BWH for a comprehensive three-day program of health care entrepreneurship.”
In January, members of this year’s winning hackathon team, Peekaboo, visited BWH and met with key leaders in their field, including researchers, clinicians, policy makers, lawyers, investors and the Brigham Innovation Hub team. Israel’s Deputy Consul General to New England, Matan Zamir, also joined the group for a discussion of the team’s project, which is an award-winning device that allows for non-invasive, sterile collection of urine in infants. The device eliminates the need for painful, costly and invasive urine collection.
Rozenblum’s hope is that exchanges like this one will continue into the future and BWH will be able to share ideas with experts in Israel as well.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to establish a meaningful relationship with the Technion, one of the most prestigious medical schools in the world, that will help both organizations generate and pursue innovative ideas,” Rozenblum said.