in-no-va-tion [noun]: the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices, or methods
Central as that definition is to the Center for Healthcare Innovation (CHI), our efforts begin long before the introduction of any new idea, device, or method.
In summer 2017, Wake Forest Medical Center created the Center for Healthcare Innovation (CHI) for the specific purpose of fostering and accelerating innovation in the space between the patients and their healthcare providers. This mission is distinct from commercializing discovery and is driven by improving patient care across the health system.
CHI is the first institutional center to be jointly funded by Wake Forest Baptist Health System and Wake Forest School of Medicine. As such, the CHI is fully committed to promoting the clinical-academic interface for the mutual benefit of Wake Forest University’s research and health system arms.
Center Goals and MissionThe Wake Forest Center for Healthcare Innovation exists to:
- Identify new innovations with great potential to improve health outcomes.
- Rigorously and rapidly assess those ideas for feasibility, utility, and viability.
- Thoroughly evaluate the impact of innovations in partnership with the Department of Implementation Science.
- Recruit like-minded innovators with expertise in implementation and proven innovation ability to become part of our team. This is accomplished through working with other Centers and departments in the Wake Forest Baptist Health System.Provide a home and infrastructure for faculty and staff working together to improve care models.
- Assist in procuring and/or providing funding and project management support for the development and implementation of solutions derived from those ideas.
- Rapidly integrating new clinical trial results or guidelines for improving care at any age.
Center Themes and Projects
Each year, the Center for Healthcare Innovation will identify a theme, or themes, that exemplify our mission. That mission is to foster the science of rapidly translating innovation and discovery from Wake Forest and other academic institutions into our clinical enterprise, promoting increased patient-care quality, safety, provider satisfaction and cost effectiveness. This year’s themes are:
- Rapidly integrating new clinical trial results or guidelines for improving care at any age
- Promoting “Function First” approaches to care for seniors
- Developing rural and urban healthcare models, including linking healthcare to housing and emerging personal health technology as part of marquee medicine programs
- Improving the integration of socioeconomic “vital signs” into healthcare
In the United States, much of how medical care is organized evolved from a “disease first” or “organ first” approach. While there’s tremendous value and wisdom in that model, for many patients—particularly older patients—it is an approach that sometimes sacrifices the function and overall quality of life of a patient for the sake of “fixing the problem.”
An innovative alternative is a “function-first” approach to medical care. Simply, it views function as a vital sign, in the same way blood pressure or heart rate do. This approach fosters true patient-centered care because it is oriented toward a patient’s desire for independence. It allows a better conversation to target care to address the personal functional goals of individual patients, and provides a way to prioritize the treatment for the medically complex patient, helping to resolve conflicts that might arise in the organ-first approach.
A function-first orientation provides the conceptual framework for making trade-offs between prevention, treatment and function.
We are applying this concept in some of our current projects, and look forward to reporting what we find.