by Alberto Tozzi, Chief Innovation Officer, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambin Gesù
Chief innovation officers have today the possibility to help introducing unprecedented tools for making hospitals a much better place than before, both for patients and health personnel. Although innovation is not limited to digital solutions, the recent wide accessibility of digital tools from everywhere resulted in radical changes in medicine. However, while patients still have great expectations about the application of digital tools in healthcare, many medical doctors and nurses are still resistant to change. That’s why I feel like a ferryman.
Most of my job is dedicated to connecting people that never met before, and to help them discover that there are problems they can solve together. Indeed, for some reasons, medicine is not communicating much with other disciplines relevant to information technology. Pervasive digital technologies are quite common in domains like engineering, informatics or physics, but medical conferences, the most popular networking tools for health care professionals, seldom include other topics than clinical medicine. Bringing fresh air to those who live in their own bubble is therefore crucial, and travelling for expanding collaboration networks, for these reasons, is a key.
The wide availability of digital tools is creating a silent revolution in medicine made by patients. They already collect, share and interpret personal health data to help improving the healthcare process. The potential is a new model of medicine based on participation. Being a pediatrician brings a number of advantages in this respect: I work with children and young parents who are mostly familiar with digital technologies. Their suggestions naturally connect technology with patient needs and are always inspiring.
Innovation has its own roots in multidisciplinarity. I am lucky enough to have a number of collaborators with different and surprising profiles for a hospital environment. We do not have only doctors in our group. A creative writer helps in developing storytelling for inspiring presentations. An engineer takes care of process design and analysis. An architect develops 3D plastic and virtual models for surgical planning. Nurses have special digital skills to engage patients in digital interactions and telemedicine. Statisticians not only performed data analysis but are engaged in data visualization. A specialist in digital communication monitors trends on the web. A journalist helps in finding out the right messages and the most effective formats for communication with the public. It has been demonstrated that the highest the number of ideas produced in an environment, the largest is the innovation level. We work to encourage idea generation and we feed curiosity.
It’s not only thrilling, it’s fun.