Year in Review from Innovation at Cleveland Clinic

Year in Review from Innovation at Cleveland Clinic

Approaching the end of a year with unprecedented twists and turns, we’re sure you’re in no way short of a library of reflection pieces. And though our final 2020 recap might throw another on the pile, as a health organization battling the pandemic first hand, innovating to bring solutions to light, and investing to be the change healthcare needs, we’d be remiss to not share our thoughts with this community – our lessons learned from being, and supporting, the frontline.

Early in 2020, in support of the organization’s COVID-19 response, Innovation at Cleveland Clinic joined forces and collaborated across the enterprise to source and develop alternative PPE to ensure the safety of our caregivers, patients, and communities. As the organization began to see COVID-19 cases, Supply Chain faced disruptions to traditional purchasing channels. Through the formation of interdisciplinary teams, Supply Chain, Innovation at Cleveland Clinic, and Philanthropy coalesced to buy, make, and procure donations of supplies. Innovation at Cleveland Clinic opened new avenues to PPE and clinical accessories by forming strategic partnerships with internal and external players to design, validate, and manufacture those supplies not able to be bought or acquired by donation.

With nearly every member of the team supporting what became known as the ‘MAKE Workstream,’ our staff spent countless hours making phone calls, reviewing COVID-related invention disclosures, sorting, sourcing, and transporting materials, reverse engineering on-hand supplies, identifying manufacturers, and validating new designs. The efforts resulted in many notable deliveries of face shields, cotton masks, isolation gowns, nasopharyngeal swabs, and more high demand products. Read more about Innovation at Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 response.  

From these MAKE Workstream efforts, a few concepts were made exceedingly clear – the value in Cleveland Clinic’s team of teams mentality, the importance of strong partnerships, and the requirement of humility. Contributing efforts to the best of our abilities while alternate teams did the same, the organization was able to achieve supply chain supplementation. Working toward one goal, Cleveland Clinic’s response to COVID-19 reminded us how lucky we are to work with some of the most passionate, creative, and selfless individuals in healthcare – truly comprising a team of teams. Outside the organization, we were also fortunate to quickly form industry partnerships for material supply. Though some entities were bigger and more experienced than others, no effort went unnoticed as the formation of these partnerships was the backbone of MAKE-produced products. But with both the internal and external group efforts, we saw value in humility. Setting aside egos to work tirelessly for the greater good, the world has made grand contributions to fight COVID-19 – contributions of which we’re proud to be a part.

But though a year unlike any other, 2020 did maintain the support for caregiver ingenuity that the office has offered since 2000. Not only support of COVID-based ideas, but analysis and development of those other solutions aimed at keeping healthcare moving forward through this crisis and beyond. In November, we launched our Celebrating Innovation campaign, allowing us to take a deep dive into remarkable caregiver achievements in the areas of health information technology, medical device, life science, and delivery solutions. From this continuation of our responsibilities, we’re reminded of the innovation happening at every clinical and administrative level and guided by our enterprise mission to continue to improve the care our patients receive. Read more about Innovation at Cleveland Clinic’s commercialization process and Celebrating Innovation campaign.

Like our support of caregiver ingenuity, conversation for innovation, too, has been maintained through COVID-19. With programs like the Medical Innovation Summit, our Transformation Tuesdays webinar series, and Health Amplified podcast, ecosystem players have come together to hold the crucial conversations that keep healthcare on the cutting-edge. While largely focused on innovation for COVID-19 and the collaboration and never-before-seen-progress for global healthcare, the programming lineup maintained other hot topics like precision medicine, oncology, robotics, AI, AR/VR, and more – further supporting progress beyond our current state. Distance health was a discussion topic for the ages – helping us understand that modalities like telemedicine are here to stay as suitable, sustainable alternatives to in-person care. In discussion with clinicians inside and outside the enterprise, our eyes have been opened to not only the value, but the work that remains to be done to keep virtual visits mainstream. Read more about Innovation at Cleveland Clinic’s programs.

Though a harrowing experience, the year 2020 has taught us and many others the value of innovation. With necessity as its mother, the past 12 months have required creative solutions at extraordinary speeds – solutions some of our staff and network have been able to provide. Still, solutions not possible without ingenuity, collaboration, compassion, hope, humility, and drive. We wish to thank all individuals and groups who have helped us make contributions to our frontline this year. Hear more reflection thoughts in our ‘Year in Review’ episode of Health Amplified, and look for additional detail in our forthcoming annual report

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