Pediatric Hospitals collaborating to advance digital innovation

News

Source: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/healthcare-and-life-sciences/pediatric-hospitals-collaborating-to-advance-digital-innovation/ba-p/1674637#M798

 

 

Claire Bonaci 

Today Ryan Tubbs speaks with Omkar Kulkarni, the Chief Innovation Officer for Children's Hospital Los Angeles about their latest initiative KidsX.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Hi, good afternoon. This is Ryan Tubbs, digital transformation officer for Microsoft healthcare. I'm joined today by Omkar Kulkarni, he's the Chief Innovation Officer at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. And we had an excellent conversation the other day and he was talking to me about some initiatives that he's driving and hoping to get some more information from today. So first of all, welcome Omkar.

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Thank you. Thanks, Ryan.Glad to be here and glad to have this conversation with you.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Well, I'd love to learn more about you first, and then we'll move on to some of these initiatives. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Sure, thanks. So, my name is Omar Kulkarni. I'm the Chief Innovation Officer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, like you said, and I'm also the managing director of kids x, which is a new program that I'd love to talk to you and your viewers more about.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Excellent. So I'd like to get just a baseline understanding of some of the the problems that are facing pediatric health just generally speaking, what are you seeing? What are some of the the problem areas you're seeing? What are the innovations that are happening in the space of pediatric health currently?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Yeah. What's what's interesting about pediatric health is it's not all too different than adult health care in the global sense, right. So what's happening in in adult health care happens in pediatric healthcare, but it's not the same. And so while the problems the general problems are, are similar, the the ways in which those problems are solved is different. I think that's really where we're trying to shine a light on that specific fact. And then be figured out ways to make it easier for people that are building solutions to be able to solve them specifically with the pediatric lens in mind, I'll give you one example. You know, for in most most of adult health care, the patient is the user of technology. Typically, in pediatric care, that's not mostly the case. In fact, usually it's either a parent, a guardian, a grandparent, sometimes a sibling, and then often with older kids, it is that it is that the patient who's the user, but just that element alone, thinking about, you know, different user personas and user profiles and what engagement you get with a six year old versus a 16 year old versus, you know, maybe a 35 year old parent of a child. Those are all different. And so as you're building technology that's, you know, solving problems and engaging the user. There are some things to keep in mind that are unique and different about this population.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Excellent. Now, imagine that you started KidsX to combat some of those challenges. Can you talk to us a little bit more about that program?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Sure. So it is the largest pediatric digital health accelerator in the world. We have 26 amazing, innovative pediatric hospitals from across the United States, from us from the UK and from Australia, that basically come together to say, look, we want to work together to figure out a way to accelerate the pace of digital innovation in pediatric health care. And specifically by working with early stage startup companies that are focused on solving problems that are really important to these pediatric hospitals. So those ingredients are going to come together with kids x, and through that we think we can really make a pretty big impact in a short period of time.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Interesting, why startups?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

So, you know, there are solutions that exist across, you know, the ecosystem from, you know, various, you know, technology vendors, academic partners, in earlier stage companies. We feel that, that there are plenty of already great solutions that exist between kind of established technology, you know, developers and vendors and big companies. That space is already doing really well the area where we feel like there is a need and an opportunity is with these early stage companies, because many of them, they have the flexibility, agility, and talent to be able to do some incredible things that can solve some of the gaps and fill in some of the holes in between. where some of the existing solutions lie. But the problem is that without really having partners and, you know, engaged decision makers and clinicians, from the users, in our case, the hospitals, the solutions lack something, they don't actually solve problems that are focused on our specific population in our market. And as a result, they're not really ready to use, we feel like we get kind of kid sized versions of adult technology, adult adult healthcare focused technology as opposed to, you know, purpose built solutions for us.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Yeah, it's interesting. You know, we do quite a bit of work with startups, as you can imagine, as a large technology organization, and we find much of the same and not just limited to pediatric health, broader healthcare and then across industries, we find that there's a lot of great innovative ideas that are coming out of the startup community. However, it does take this community this almost as open innovation approach to really further refining those solutions and allowing them startups an ecosystem that they can do their continuous market validation as it were. So there's a very symbiotic relationship in some of these accelerator type programs where it's good for them to evaluate the commercial aspects of their offering. But it's also good for the end customer and ideally, the hospitals to get in be an early advisor into how that product shapes Is that what you're finding?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Yeah, I mean, the way we think about it is we are really good at delivering pediatric health care, right? We're at its core, we as in these organizations that we know we're part of, we are good at delivering health care. We're not technology companies, right? I mean, we have great smart people who work in technology who work for us, but ultimately, we're not designed to build new technology. That's that's what you all do. That's what these startups do. That's that's what that ecosystem is, but to your point, there is this mutually beneficial relationship when you can find a way to work together and that's what is needed but it needs to be facilitated. I think the problem is there's so many these one off conversations that are happening between entrepreneur and you know, hospital leadership or doctor are nurses. They're one off and they're not coordinated. They're not facilitated. There's not an evaluation process or prioritization process that's in any way consistent or scaled. And so there's a lot of inefficiencies in that process. And what ends up happening is you don't really have the best of the best that are selected, identified, and partnered with that actually end up with solutions that are delivered. And so I think that's what these ecosystems like accelerators are really helpful because they bring together the key leaders thought, thought partners, decision makers, to both select the right people, the right entrepreneurs and companies, but then also to mentor them, guide them and prepare them for entering into that market. Right. So through product validation, through, you know, business model validation, building that right go to market and sales strategy. These are key elements that you know, can be done in a vacuum but can be done so much better if you have partnership for both ends of the ecosystem.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Absolutely. Now, I don't recall you mentioning how long the program has been around. But as have you already gone through a cycle this no traditional accelerators have a cycle of nomination process, you know, some build time and then, you know, some kind of an exit, if you like, does your program operate similarly? And where are you at in your cycle currently?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Yeah, it does. It's at once a year program, we just launched the program. And so we have our hospitals. What's unique about our program, which I'm particularly proud of, is, we use the reverse pitch concept. So with this with this reverse pitch model, we feel like it's important to first start by asking the hospitals, what are the key problems that you want to solve it even further than that - what are the key problems that you would actually put resources towards solving? So we did that exercise a few weeks ago, and we brought together these 26 hospitals virtually, of course, and we said, Look, what are the key areas that you want to put resources towards solving. And through that we were able to come up with a list of actually hundreds of different ideas we've prioritized and selected eight and we're calling them the kidsX wishlist and this is the list of items that we really want. So companies, startups, who are solving these problems to come to us and say, Look, I can solve this for you. And I can solve it for you in this way. So we just have that process or applications are open now. There'll be open through middle of October. And then our actual class will begin in January and go through March. And so the idea is for this to happen every single year with an accelerator class, that's kind of January through March.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Awesome. And so do you have any good stories around this that you can tell currently that are publicly available?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Yes. I mean, what's incredible about this so far, as we all have, even though we all work in very different markets, different cities, around the country, even around the world, some of the same, some of the same things keep popping up everywhere we go some of the same challenges. Some of the same successes are existing in Florida existing in Texas, existing in London, in LA as well. And so it's been it's been great getting to know these different things. decision makers and leaders in digital health across the country, because we're coming across the same challenges and the same issues. And what's really great about our program, I think is, in addition to everything else we're doing, I think we're learning from each other. And I think there's a inherent goal of trying to even find ways to do things similarly, maybe not identically. But it's similarly across the board. So there are some efficiencies but based on learning from one another, and how we're, you know, doing the various elements of this digital health process.

 

Ryan Tubbs  

Excellent. Well, beautiful. So, um, one final question for you is, how are you attracting the startups to this cause? How are you, understanding what they're doing and identifying the organizations that are best suited for the program? And then lastly, you know, what message would you like to deliver to any of them that are viewing this podcast?

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

I mean, the best thing is, the best thing about this whole space is that companies and entrepreneurs, especially early stage companies, they're all they exist and thrive all over the world. They're not in specific locations or cities. Some are more concentrated in certain markets and others, but they're everywhere. And we want to find them all. So it doesn't matter, you know, whether they're based here in the US or based internationally, we're very much open to meeting as many different founders and companies that want to solve the problems that ever been identified by our hospitals. So we've got our, we've got our website, kidsx.health, which we encourage you all to visit. And if you feel like you've got a solution, my message here is to startups. If you have a solution that meets one of the wishlist items, please apply. That's the best way for us to get to know you, and see if you're a good fit for our program. And if you're in the ecosystem, and you know of companies that may be interested in some of the areas that we're focused on, please point them to our website so they can get involved and get their get their foot in the door and we can start talking to them.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Excellent. Well, thank you so much for your time today. We're fans of the work that you're doing anything, of course that we can do to help further support your efforts. we're absolutely willing and able to do I couldn't agree with you more about this approach. I mean, I have to tell you, I think it's ingenious that it's not just looking at What innovations are necessary but the process of nurturing those innovations and optimizing the throughput of those innovations so that we can really get them to really the people that need them as quickly as possible. So I applaud the efforts, and I wish you the best of luck.

 

Omkar Kulkarni 

Thank you appreciate the time and look forward to seeing what's out there.

 

Ryan Tubbs 

Thank you.

 

Claire Bonaci 

Thank you all for watching. Please feel free to leave us questions or comments below. And check back soon for more content from the HLS industry team.