ClickCare Café

Innovation, like Telemedicine, Doesn't Have to be Fancy.

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 @ 07:30 AM

innovation
When we talk about innovation, what comes to mind?

For most people, "innovation" tends to be synonymous with the next new thing in technology. A designer drug, high-tech diagnostic equipment, or one of Apple's newest creations.

But what about the humbler kinds of innovation that are being advanced by medical providers day in and day out? For instance, a couple of years back, Dr. Sundari Periasamy identified 10-year-old Alaijah Borden's problem with her weight and did something both simple and progressive: she prescribed her fruits and vegetables in a program that made it easier to access and prepare the foods. Part of a pilot project, Alaijah and her family got nutritional education, recipes, and "health bucks" they could spend at farmers' markets.

After one year, Alaijah lost 5 pounds; a year after that, she lost an additional 8. Her mom started eating healthier too. Now, on the way to and from school, Alaijah munches on carrot sticks and fruit, rather than the cakes and cookies she used to stop off for. The Borden family is not alone. Of the 1200 families that participated, 97% of children ate more fruits and vegetables and after just 4 months, 40% of kids lowered their BMI.

So, no, the program is not the most sophisticated, the most complex, or the most newsworthy, probably. But it is innovative, in that it takes a complex problem and creates an effective solution.

So many times, we describe iClickCare to someone and, once they understand how telemedicine works and medical collaboration happens, it seems kind of obvious to them. They don't say "Wow! You must be a genius to think of that," they say "Huh. That makes a lot of sense.  People are probably doing that already." For us, iClickCare certainly is innovative, but so many other projects, big and small are, too. In fact, in so many ways, the most useful innovation means: 
  1. Solving a real problem. Kids, especially lower-income kids with weight issues. are not a flashy topic. But it is a real problem, affecting the lives and healths of millions. The problems we solve with medical collaboration and telemedicine are often similar. Perhaps it's a growth that could be cancerous, a gait that seems off, or the final stages of cleft palate surgery. None would make the news for uniqueness but all are crucial for the patient. 
  2. Using a solution that makes sense for the context. In the case of Alaijah, her weight solution had to take into account that finding and preparing fruits and vegetables is not an insignificant barrier. Had the doctor lectured the family about the problem, explained the issue at the molecular level, or even prescribed medication, it's very likely the little girl wouldn't have made any progress. But, like a simple software solution that can work on any hardware, Dr. Sundari's solution took the context into account.
  3. Working with people, not around them. Perhaps the most crucial element of an innovation is that it works with people to create solutions, instead of conceiving of a novelty and then trying to "get" people to adopt it. Just as in leadership, it's crucial for innovation to work with and for people, not trampling them for the sake of progress. 

 

For more stories of medical collaboration and medical innovation, click here: 

 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Medical Collaboration

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration software, telemedicine technology

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