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Here are my take aways from this week’s conversations with the best and brightest in health care innovation.

Innovation starts with innovators. Find them, support them, team them up with great implementors. Great thoughts @Massbio Commercial IT Innovation Forum

You’ve already got what it takes. Match your network to your ideas and see what happens. Way to go @careinnovators @mattycasey

Create value for your customers and they’ll be excited to create value for you. Think big Mike E

Payers, Providers, and Pharma = One Goal. Reduced cost, more effective patient focused healthcare. Yes, we’re all on the same team. Keep innovating @connectedhealth, Al L

Social media will revolutionize health care. The future of personalized patient engagement and health trend discovery. Keep your eye on @Novartis on iPhone is the best use of an extra 15 minutes. Thank you Glen O

Your thoughts?

Innovation f Rules

Ever attended an unconference?  I experienced my first last week, the MassTLC (@MassTLC) Innovation Unconference (, and have been debriefing with the best innovators I know.  My big take away from the conference was that innovation arises at the intersection of wild passionate entrepreneurship and well structured, measured business management.

It also helped me understand the key principles that will determine how Life Science and Health Care organizations innovate to drive market changing disruption.


The first Rule of Innovation is Freedom. This is a question of leadership, vision, passion, openness, and the freedom to  try and fail. Innovation is not possible where it is not allowed.  It starts at the top of any organization and is the single most important factor in innovation.


The yin to Freedom’s yang is methodology.  To reach its potential, Innovation must be underpinned by sound processes and structure. For the Life Science and Health Care organizations this includes answering some practical questions …

– How do we budget for innovation?

– What’s the role of IT vs. the internal customer vs. the external customer?

– Which ideas do we pilot and what are the measures of success?

Depending on organizational culture, the approach can vary in level of structure.  For a structured methodology, I highly recommend Merck‘s innovation methodology based on the scientific method,, developed by Sanjoy Ray, Director of Technology Innovation.  I’ve also seen lighter weight structures produce great results.  Novartis Vaccine’s and Diagnostics Shared Service Group, lead by Ken Grady (@gradygroove), is creating differentiable patient care with a light weight, grass-roots approach. VaxTrak is one result,


Game changing results start with the right focus.  Innovation in Health Care begins and ends with a focus on the Patient.  This became clear to me over a coffee with Kevin Granfield, Director of R&D IT Support Services, at Biogen Idec. Once an organization has freedom leadership and innovation process they need to focus on the patient as their key stakeholder.  The entire Health Care value chain needs to rethink its processes, from research to reimbursement, with a focus on patient health and experience.  Focus anywhere else is a distraction to game changing innovation.

So…  What are you learning about innovation in Health Care? Love to hear your thoughts.

Healthcare 3.0?

Attending the MHDC HealthMart ( yesterday it dawned on me…    Social Networks will be center stage of Health Care 3.0.

If we assume that Healthcare 1.o what we know today, Health Care 2.0 is gaining momentum; Personal Health Records are at a very early stage of adoption (7% of the population) but growing significantly over previous years. Provider networks are implementing Electronic Medial Records to receive grant funding and to avoid looming penalties for manual processes. Hospitals are beginning to electronically share medical data across local exchanges (HIE) in preparation for an eventual nationwide network. All of this is good news for consumers, providers, payers, and government.  Costs will go down and outcomes will improve.

But… Reading between the lines of the sessions, consumer managed social networks are the foundation for game changing results in Heath Care 3.0.

One unrealized innovation is Syndromic Surveillance. Google can predict a flu outbreak two weeks faster the previous methods ( using the frequency of search terms. Is the real-time communication through online social  networks the next opportunity?  Some Payers think so and are beginning to invest in social media monitoring.  Social media offers the ability to monitor real-time patient interactions and ultimately promote wellness across to a large but focused audience.  Applications to monitor and react to adverse events and or disease trends will  revolutionize Life Science and Health Care processes.

Another benefit of social media in Health Care will be the virtualization of doctor visits through moderated social networks. As Social Media takes hold, a new generation of providers will emerge from the medical community to revolutionize health care delivery and wellness.  Rather than fending for yourself after a 10 minute doctor visit, follow-ups will be managed through moderated online networks, where medical diagnosis and check ups are conducted from the comfort of your favorite TV chair.

Finally, Social Networks put the patient back in the wellness driver seat.  PHRs are creating transferable access to critical personal health information but its the community that empowers patient’s get and stay well.  Early examples have already started to emerge.  A friend of mine recently quick a 20 year smoking addiction, relying on a combination prescribed medicine, a supportive online social community, and mobile apps to remind him how much money he was saving.    Other examples include sites like and, demonstrating the power of a consumer population taking ownership of their own wellness.

The amazing nature of our world is the speed at which these innovations will become mainstream.  Health Care 3.0 is coming to the gates before 1.0  has reached the finish line.

The Power of Swarm

I was hiking through the Olympic Rain Forest when I first realized the power of swarm. A somewhat crazy friend crossed the river, heel to toe, over a fallen log ahead of me. About three steps behind, the hive had just enough time to get excited for my arrival. I had been stung occasionally before and wasn’t afraid of bees, but caught half way across a log over a freezing river surrounded by a swarm of bees was a new experience for me. Jumping off the log into the cold water I understood the power of swarm.

In this blog I’d like to share my conversations, thoughts, and experiences related to the swarm power of Social Media and specifically its impact on Life Science and Healthcare organizations.

At its heart Social Media is a network of human interaction, each post and tweet a single buzzing bee. Individual mini-conversations with friends, family, co-workers, care givers, vendors, customers passively available in real time. Now, what about the macro view? I think the combined power of these conversations is where Social Media takes on a new form with insights and access big enough to make you jump into freezing rushing river.

I’m not sure what I’ll find out as I research, discuss, pitch, and share what I learn about Social Media, but I’m starting with an open mind and some questions.

– What can be learned from the combined story of personal sharing through Social Media?

– What technology, regulation, methodologies can be applied to direct the social swarm?

– How are Life Science and Health Care companies using Social Media to listen and educate with Patients and Physicians?

– What factors effect social media adoption by users and commercial organizations?

Let’s figure this out together. If you post a question I’ll do my best to get you an answer.

Information Dashboarding

Ahhhh… The infamous and elusive dashboard…

Over breakfast this week, Mark Medieros eyes lit up when I mentioned dashboard. He had recently read an article stating that having the word “Dashboard” in your title or related projects was a high indicator of promotion. Too bad there isn’t a dashboard for that!  Mark recently led the implementation of ERP in support Dyax’s ( successful product launch.

The importance of dashboarding in Life Science and Healthcare was further emphasized to at this week’s Massbio IT Committee meeting. The topic “data I got , information I need” ( was exceptional. Ken Grady (@gradygroove & Novartis) and Ralph Bagely (ABT BioPharma) lead a panel consisting of thought leaders from  Shiby Thomas (Boston Medical Center),  Ursula Soritsch-Renier, (Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Strategy), and Steve Ellis (Sanofi Pasteur Research). The panel offered unique perspectives on both the value and headaches of delivering the right information to the right stakeholder at the right times. Here are a few of my takeaways…

– data refrencability is becoming more important than standardization especially in cross company / department collaboration.

– decision makers want to be able to interact with the data and their interaction should inform the next delivery of information. Dashboarding is not one way!

– taking an iterative approach is a good way to avoid mass failure. Deliver something focused and build on it.

– the next step is predictive. Use the data to predict problems and take steps to avoid or contain.

In the Healthcare space,  Shiby Thomas of Boston University Medical Center presented some eye openers.  Shiby is leading a forward thinking team leveraging the value of the Healthcare data.  Specifically interesting to me was the bottom line value of the medical data.  In addition to managing provider performance the regulatory and insurance providers are providing bonus incentives to hospitals can provide performance information.  These bonuses will eventually convert to penalties.  Secondly, the problem of managing Doctor’s personal case notes and dictation is taking a significant issue.  How do you standardize and correlate data from data that is not only unstructured but also so highly individualized?

In summary if you’re thinking about changing your title you might want to try Associate Director of Dashboarding or maybe Chief Dashboard Officer.

What dashboard related initiatives are you working on?

Enjoying the View,


Data Deluge

The economist published a special report last week called the data deluge.

It prompts me to share some examples of recent conversations about how life science and health care companies benefiting from the drastic increase in data?

Processing power is the one important aspect. I had an exceptionally informative lunch with Dave Henderson from Sage Bionetworks this week.  Sage recently spun up a 5000 core High Performance Computing center with the University of Miami. Their first few jobs used every core on the first day.  Dave is already look at way to increase their bandwidth to keep pace with the data creation.

Another key is relating data from siloed systems to identify broad trends and relationships. Novartis for example talks about a utopia that gives users a single intuitive interface to interact with and make decisions from large amounts of disparate data.  The ultimate solution must correlate and present data of all types; transactional, content, private, and public.

IT Leaders are making good use of the newly available data sources.  Steve Schmidt, founder of Asthma Signals (, is solving real medical problems by interpreting and communicating various data sources including location, weather, health records, and pollutant counts.

Interestingly, these leaders are all looking for what they call the “Holy Grail” of data management. I’ve heard it more than once!  I wonder if anyone has found it?  How is the data deluge affecting your organization?

Henri Salvador – Room with a View

If haven’t heard it before you’ve got listen to Henri Salvador’s smooth Brazilian samba “Room with a View”. Beside being an exceptional song to accompany a candle lit dinner, it also happens to be the basis for the name of my blog.

One of my greatest pleasures is having the opportunity to meet and share ideas with IT leaders from the Life Science and Health Care industries. Sitting across from them over a cup of constantly refilling coffee I’m seeing the future of Information Technology appear before my eyes. These practical visionaries are finding broader, deeper, better ways to solve problems. From my window across the table I’m catching glimpses of their successes and struggles.

What’s in view? The collaboration across partners and systems to automate business processes. Intuitive information dashboards creating knowledge out of data silos. Predictive models interpreting disparate data to predict and inform patients to prevent acute disease symptoms. Mobile devices putting actionable medical information in a patient’s hand.

This blog will share the lessons, vision, and struggles of innovative leaders seeking to create and apply the future of information technology. I’m looking forward to sharing my view with you.