Dr Harlan Krumholz Outlines the Impact of New Technology and Innovations on Healthcare Delivery

May 21, 2018

Innovations are transforming healthcare, but these innovations have to align with business models and they still have to be validated before they can improve care delivery, explained Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, Harold H. Hines Jr professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, and director, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Hospital.

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Innovations are transforming healthcare, but these innovations have to align with business models and they still have to be validated before they can improve care delivery, explained Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, Harold H. Hines Jr professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, and director, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Transcript

How are innovations currently transforming healthcare to more proactively deliver care?

I think there’s a lot of aspiration to have new innovations help people to become more engaged and to transform the way healthcare delivery occurs. I think the reality is that it’s been slow. And some of that is justified, because any of these new innovations we need to validate, we need to understand what they can do. They are, in a way, like drugs and devices: we need to be able to test them in different settings, we need to understand how they go in scale.

But the bottom line is that our hope is that technology and innovative thinking will enable us to break the rules of healthcare, to be able to understand what we’re doing that we don’t need to do, and what it is we should be doing that we can do better, in a way, to wipe the slate clean.

Now, the problem is that we have to deliver care every day. To be able implement new innovations in the course of actually delivering care isn’t easy. But the hope is that we’ll be able to do this.

What is the next step in using technology to improve care delivery that we haven't reached yet?

I think one of the things is to begin to realize the possibilities of technology. Almost every other industry has been avid to adopt technology when it gives it a competitive advantage. In healthcare, there’s not that evolutionary pressure. These healthcare organizations, largely the ones that are delivering care, have existed and expect to exist, and, actually, with the current system tend to be doing ok. They have concerns about what the future is, but in the financial side they’re still doing ok.

The burning platform, the need to be able to change thinking, openness to new ways of doing things, hasn’t yet really hit the healthcare delivery industry in the way that it should. So, I think the next thing that needs to happen is, we have to open our minds to the ways in which technology, in particular, and innovative thinking can actually help us change the workflows and deliver care in a better way; improve the, in a sense, customer experience; ensure that people are getting very best outcomes; measure what matters, so we know the progress that we’re making.

I think it’s about our mindset. That’s really what needs to change. And the technology and the innovations need to serve the needs of people, aligned with the business models, because obviously, if we don’t do that, nothing will be implemented.