26 Sep 2012

Open Innovation in The Healthcare Industry

26 Sep 2012

The healthcare market is changing. With the new regulations, rising healthcare costs, and other economic conditions, insurers must find new ways to adapt while improving service quality, efficiency, and reducing costs. To drive change some insurers are looking to outsiders to find solutions.

Open innovation, already a staple in the software and telecommunication industries, is where companies seek partners both within and outside of their industry to improve a product or service using technology. It requires a certain level of honesty on the part of companies who have to tell the world what issues they’re dealing with. Something many may be uncomfortable doing, but Aetna is up for the challenge.

As reported in Healthcare IT News, Aetna “created Aetna Innovation Labs to focus on ways to improve patient outcomes by leveraging data and best practices.” “With a dedicated team, Aetna Innovation Labs will use technology to improve clinical results by analyzing data from medical claims, use of medication, laboratory results and participation in care-management programs.” The lab will allow the health insurer to test initiatives in treating diseases while learning the success rates early on. “We’re partnering with innovators, applying emerging technologies that are widely used in the consumer marketplace and measuring the outcomes,” said Michael Palmer, the labs leader. One project involves combining data provided by Aetna with a supercomputer-enabled platform from GNS Healthcare. GNS will apply its technology platform to the  data to discover which interventions work best for those who are at-risk for metabolic syndrome.

“The Aetna Innovation Labs is the innovation engine that is helping us stay one step ahead of the changing marketplace. This team is dedicated to developing and leveraging solutions that are two to three years ahead of the market as well as identifying new ideas and bringing them to life.” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s Chairman, President, and CEO. Future projects include clinical innovations that better predict illnesses and improve life-long health.

I am very excited, and looking forward to seeing what new strategies and processes they come up with. I hope open innovation does for healthcare, what it did for telecommunications.

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