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Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions on health-care innovation

Ask Stanford Med: Answers to your questions on health-care innovation

Thank you for taking the time to share your questions on health-care innovation and entrepreneurship using the hashtag #AskSUMed or the comment section on Scope. Here are my answers.

@NBBJCommunity asks: How can medical technology be integrated with tools like LEAN, architecture etc. to create holistic solutions?

Let’s take LEAN as an example. LEAN has its roots in the Toyota production system and process re-engineering. One of the key insights from the Toyota production system is that each handoff, when an item changes hands between individuals or departments, in a service system or production process is a potential point of failure.

In health-care, many preventable problems and medical errors occur at handoffs between staff members or during shift changes. You can use technology to make those handoffs work more seamlessly. You can start with things like electronic medical records to help reduce workflow failures. But you can also envision medical technologies that can be used to radically redesign the process of care delivery to eliminate handoffs. For instance, consider devices that could be used by a patient to perform activities and collect data that would otherwise be gathered and managed by a health-care provider. If we can integrate that information in a way that works seamlessly with the provider’s workflow, we can minimize the back and forth between the provider and patient that creates room for error.

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