Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Search of Successful Clinical Innovations

There’s a way to do it better – find it.

Thomas Edison, 1847-1931

November 2, 2011 - A physician venture capitalist and I are in the early stages of writing a book on clinical innovation. We are hunting for case studies of successful ventures. We will publish some of these studies in our book.

These ventures do not necessarily need to be big ideas that change the world. Incremental ideas, however small, that improve care, generate savings, and create margins will also serve.

Margins are important. As a nun CEO of large Catholic health system observed, “No margin, no mission.”

So are care improvements As David Brailer, MD, PhD, President Bush’s National Health IT czar turned venture capitalist, clinical innovation says; "It is not all about big ideas.” It’s about bottom-up ideas of all sizes that work for the benefit of all participants.

Doctor Brailer’s venture firm, Health Evolution Partners, founded in 2007, for example, has backed a small company, Foundation Radiology Group, that provides specialized radiology services from small hospitals. This makes sense, for the average size of America’s 5000 hospitals is 100 beds, and many of them lack these services.

Another example is a patient navigation system developed by Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, N.M. It provides a Skype-like two-way video system that mid-level practitioners use to evaluate and divert ER patients away from the ER to primary care physicians.

Mid-level professionals talk to the patients, direct them to physicians, make their appointments with 12 to 24 hours, and follow up to see if the appointments were made.

In the first 47 weeks of the program, 10% of patients, an average of 23 patients per day seen in two ERs were diverted. The estimated saving will be $15 million over 5 years.

Please call me 860-395-1501 or email me at if you know of successful clinical innovators looking for capital investments.

Tweet: I am looking for successful clinical innovations to present as case studies in a book a physician venture capitalists and I are writing.

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