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CHEF President’s Message: The Case for Innovation in Healthcare

submitted by Richard Buchler, FACHE, President and CEO, Vizr Tech – 2015 CHEF President

It has been over 15 years since the eye-opening statistics of deaths that occur in hospital due to errors were released.? Back then it was estimated that 98,000 Americans die per year due to preventable errors, making medical errors the 6th leading cause of death.? Two years ago, it was estimated that hospital errors may actually be the 3rd leading cause of death, 2nd only to heart disease and cancer.

While great strides have been made in patient safety in many forward-thinking institutions (many here in Chicago), the fact remains that we work in an industry that is more dangerous than automobiles. In the last decade and a half, we have failed as an industry to learn new techniques and approaches, implement them into our process and evolve quickly.

This problem is desperate for innovative solutions that take a holistic approach, involving every aspect of health care. Innovative solutions need to be found in technology, care delivery and business models. It?s not like we aren?t trying. Below are some current facts / obstacles:

  • Government money spent on healthcare research and development is 2nd only to spending on R&D for defense.
  • Healthcare costs continue to rise and patient safety is far from guaranteed.
  • The highest functioning healthcare institutions are those that strive for innovation.
  • Software startups receive more early-stage funding than health ventures.

So what does this mean for us and why aren?t our efforts working?? One argument is that we are focused on generating effort, not results.? The FDA certifies new drugs and medical devices based on likelihood of patient harm or death, and not efficacy or results.? It is our job to evaluate our current technology and processes and monitor their results, but also we must be vigilant about only utilizing new products, services, and techniques that have been proven to be effective.

In an effort to provide our members with access to the newest in innovation, CHEF is hosting a networking event with MATTER Chicago on October 15th.? MATTER is a technology startup incubator dedicated solely to healthcare.? MATTER has partnerships with HCSC, the AMA, Lurie Children?s Hospital, Northshore, Northwestern, OSF Healthcare, Sinai, U of C, UIC, plus many other leaders.? Member companies of MATTER are all working on developing new ways to tackle every aspect of healthcare.? CHEF is providing you with the opportunity to see the space, listen to quick pitches about the latest technologies from startups and meet the innovators that are making Chicago a hub for new ideas.

As President of CHEF, I hope that this event provides our members with an insider perspective to innovation that can be incorporated throughout your healthcare institution.? Let the innovating begin! I look forward to seeing you all there!


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