In 2016, OSF HealthCare launched OSF Innovation, an initiative to the lead the way in transforming health care. The idea is to take a three-pronged approach to finding solutions in health care including internally, externally and through team invention. There are hundreds, if not thousands of entrepreneurs and startup companies with ideas to revolutionize care. The challenge is finding the right ones to meet the needs of OSF HealthCare and quickly adopt these solutions after they’ve been selected.
As part of OSF Innovation, the Partnerships team helps OSF HealthCare identify solutions both internally and externally that can improve patient outcomes, enhance patient experience and reduce the cost of health care. This work is done through partnerships with incubators, accelerators, corporations and universities to discover technology, products and services we can further develop to meet our needs, test, pilot and/or implement throughout the health care system.
Working with the rest of the OSF Innovation team, the Partnerships group has introduced more than 20 digital and technology solutions within OSF HealthCare in two years. Through various partnership opportunities, these projects are positively impacting a majority of the patients we serve.
“Partnering with external companies gives us first-hand knowledge of up and coming technology and devices—all with great ideas that could make an impact in the health care industry. With guidance from the entire OSF Innovation team and leaders within OSF, we deliberately seek solutions to defined areas we know will positively impact a majority of the patients we serve."
- Matthew Warrens, Vice President, Innovation Partnerships
External Collaboration Connects OSF to the Right Solutions
To better serve its patient base in Illinois and Michigan, OSF HealthCare collaborates with innovators across the country. This is part of the larger OSF Innovation initiative that was launched in 2016 to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming health care. The idea is to take a three-pronged approach to finding solutions to complex problems including internally, externally and through team invention. However, OSF HealthCare can’t pursue every innovative health care solution proposed.
OSF Innovation aims to create ideas and partner and invest in projects that fall under defined areas that will positively impact a majority of patients OSF HealthCare serves. These include removing barriers to care for disadvantaged individuals, transforming how care is delivered to seniors and expanding access to care in ways that haven’t been tried before.
Our OSF Innovation Partnerships team externally seeks solutions in these areas by partnering with incubators, accelerators, corporations and universities that connect us to companies developing cutting-edge technology, products and services.
How We Partner
Innovation Partnerships has developed a tiered process to collaborate with startups to ensure their solutions fit the hospital system’s needs.
The first step the team takes is to connect companies with subject matter experts from OSF HealthCare specializing in clinical, financial, procurement or technology to mentor and offer knowledge that adds value to the venture. Some of these companies will move on to the next step in our partnering process, which is to be fully vetted to determine if their technology, products or services will help us get closer to achieving a strategic priority. If so, external and internal key leaders will further evaluate whether we should work with the companies.
Completion of the mentoring and vetting processes could lead to a contracted formal partnership with OSF HealthCare that may include one or more of the following actions:
- Usability Services—Products are tested using actual end-users with the goal of identifying usability problems, discovering useful data and determining end user satisfaction.
- Clinical Trial—Medications, diagnostic products and treatment regimens are determined to be safe and effective.
- Pilots—A short-term experiment is designed to test logistics, prove value and reveal deficiencies before large scale implementation.
- Implementation—Successful pilots will be implemented across the Ministry.
What’s Been Achieved
The Innovation Partnerships team is relatively small, but has the advantage of collaborating with a number of divisions within OSF Innovation to ensure success. This includes finance, healthcare analytics, telehealth, performance improvement and simulation education and training. The group also has direct connection with clinicians from one of the largest hospitals in Illinois who can act as subject matter experts and help test solutions that are presented to OSF.
Thanks to a continually evolving Innovation Partnership process, the team has been able to greatly reduce the time it takes to bring a new solution to scale. It can now can identify ideas, vet them with subject matter experts, initiate the legal and IT review process and begin implementation/pilot planning within six weeks.
Working with the rest of the OSF Innovation team, Innovation Partnerships has introduced more than 20 digital and technology solutions within OSF HealthCare in two years. These projects are positively impacting a majority of the patients we serve.