During these challenging days of the pandemic, it is more obvious than ever before that innovations in healthcare are needed and artificial intelligence is an important part of that innovation ecosystem. As the chief intelligence and innovation officer at my hospital, I have the special privilege of intertwining artificial intelligence and healthcare innovation with projects, agendas, and publications on a day-to-day basis.
Innovation can be defined in many ways. One of my favorite definitions is that innovation is invention with value (innovation = invention x value), with the value either as commercialization with revenue or as lives saved or improved (sometimes in the case of charitable organizations or healthcare systems). The ideal innovation, then, is an invention or new idea that brings high value.
Ten useful caveats of innovation, especially in healthcare, are summarized below (a few here with the remainder in part II in next week’s AIMed newsletter):
Innovation can be a convergence of different technologies
Sometimes innovation – especially in healthcare – can be simply a convergence of existing technologies rather than a new technology. An example in real life is Uber and its clever use of several existing (not new) technologies. Artificial intelligence is well situated to be a technology or resource that can be combined with another existing technology in healthcare (such as extended reality).
Innovation differs from research
A friend of mine once told me:
“Research is using money to turn it into knowledge, and innovation is the opposite – turning knowledge into money (or value).”
The traditional division between research (and development) and innovation is less obvious than before in some sectors, but within healthcare, it is rare to see innovation and research in the same domain.
One may need to travel far from one’s home domain to innovate
Steve Jobs wandered into a calligraphy class while he was at Reed College, and he often talked about how that one class forever changed his perspective on innovation. In healthcare, some of these innovations come from stakeholders from other domains, such as the technology sector – especially with artificial intelligence and cloud computing.