One of the more important topics for any organization today is innovation and, in particular, the results achieved through innovation. While every company sees a role for developing new innovations, many are not able to put in place a process that sustains this discipline and measures its value.
As the educator Laurence Peter, the creator of the Peter Principle, said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else.”
In this installment of our series of interviews with Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, Global Partners, Inc. discusses how the Cleveland Clinic sees innovation and measures its value, both to the Clinic as well as to the patients it serves.
The Cleveland Clinic is an unquestionable leader in healthcare innovation. We think that all organizations can benefit by understanding how the Cleveland Clinic has created a culture of discipline for innovation. None of us want to end up someplace else.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: Do you have an R&D group within Cleveland Clinic, a so called R&D or an innovation center?
DR. COSGROVE: Yes, we do. Cleveland Clinic Innovations is essentially a tech transfer group. It’s interesting what has happened. The flow of money has gone gradually from devices and pharmaceuticals to IT.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: What are some of the results?
DR. COSGROVE: We’ve seen it spin off to the creation of about 35 companies, and the spin offs are increasingly IT solutions to healthcare problems. So we are able to see and measure results from our internal developments for our operations and our patients.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: How do you put in place a process so that innovations are sustainable?
DR. COSGROVE: We do two things. We’ve established Foundation Medical Partners. It is now a standalone group venture capital fund. The Cleveland Clinic serves as the anchor tenant for investments and provides advice from the doctors. And the second one is the tech transfer which is called Innovations.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: How do you quantify the return on investment (ROI)?
DR. COSGROVE: This group has gotten about 270 patents issued and about 35 companies spun off and we’re now doing profitable tech transfer for other medical groups around the country. But it’s taken us about 10 years to get it to where it is now.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: Do you have any advice for other healthcare companies who are pursuing innovation within their organizations?
DR. COSGROVE: Just like a start up, it takes a long time to get innovation within companies off the ground, but, with the right structure and investment strategy, it gathers momentum and, if you diversify and place an emphasis behind the areas generating real returns, the percentages can be nice.
These insights from Dr. Toby Cosgrove can provide tremendous help to any business, not only in terms of benefiting your own business, but also in terms of adding value for your customers.
The importance of establishing a realistic process for creating new innovations, and one that
can quantitatively measure the ROI of these fresh ideas, cannot be overstated.
We would be interested to hear how your organization tracks its ROI on innovation. How does
the Cleveland Clinic’s approach to innovation provide worthwhile ideas for your company?
image credit: time_anchor
Global Partners, Inc. (GPI) was fortunate to spend time last month with Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. In our effort to help healthcare companies be leaders in their categories, we believe it is important to listen to the innovations and ideas of those who have accomplished so much. The Cleveland Clinic and Dr. Cosgrove certainly fall into that category.
In this interview, we talked with Dr. Cosgrove about the Cleveland Clinic’s innovations in E-health.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: The Cleveland Clinic is taking a leadership role in technology so let’s talk about either M-health or E-health.
DR. COSGROVE: Well, let’s talk about the E-health because I think E probably came before M even in the alphabet. We have electronic connections that allow us to examine patients distantly. Almost anything that can be digitized we can do remotely.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: What does that mean in terms of treating patients?
DR. COSGROVE: I think we have 30 some sites that do x-rays including three radiologists. So we can do pathology in Hawaii that can be digitized and people can look at specimens. We can do dermatology, so essentially anything that can be reduced to digits can be looked at in electronic format and done remotely.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: How does that raise the standard of healthcare?
DR. COSGROVE: It is very important, particularly for rural areas. I mean, I think about my hometown, there is no way they are ever going to have a neuropathologist where I grew up. But now, you certainly have access to one. So, there are lots of opportunities along those lines.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: Are you doing these innovations within your organization or are you working in partnerships?
DR. COSGROVE: The things I have talked about we have done ourselves.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: Do you see expanding into partnerships?
DR. COSGROVE: We partnered with Microsoft concerning heart failure patients in the EMR…about 300 patients…but it was really their initiative rather than a partnership. We’re looking into doing other things with Microsoft. We’re trying to have them use their cloud computing or their cloud for storage of our x-rays. That’s been our project.
It’s been about a year working with the idea of storing all our films with them - Apple to Microsoft to Mac and then back from Microsoft to Apple to the end user. And the combination of working with Apple and Microsoft is challenging.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: Do you see that as just one step in the future toward remotely working with patient data on a cloud basis?
DR. COSGROVE: Oh, absolutely, I think that’s where everything is going, especially when you get into the genomics which is going to be a huge data set that is going to be in the cloud.
GLOBAL PARTNERS: So you are happy with the solution. Do you worry about some of the security issues that Washington is raising about the cloud?
DR. COSGROVE: I think the paranoia in Washington is much greater than the reality.
All of us at Global Partners, Inc. get inspired by Dr. Toby Cosgrove. Listening to the innovations the Cleveland Clinic are doing, we’re able to see the future of healthcare a little more clearly. How do you see E-health in the future of your organization?
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