“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”


—Dean Kamen


Dean Kamen knows a thing or two about technology and innovation. He not only invented the Segway™ but also created numerous products that are used daily in health care. These include the first wearable infusion pump, a peritoneal dialysis system, and an all-terrain electric wheelchair known as the iBOT™. While we may not be inventors like Kamen, his comment about innovation resulting from the convergence of new technology, an old problem, and a big idea is encouraging for anyone who imagines a better tomorrow.

During my tenure as CFO at Geisinger, I had many opportunities to witness such convergence firsthand. In one instance, we transformed health care with technology by automating the best- practice bundle of activities for diabetics within our electronic medical record, data-mining our records to identify the target population, and implementing follow-up through our group practice. The result was a statistically significant reduction in heart attacks, strokes, and retinopathy, improving overall care quality and cost.

Perhaps you’ve identified a problem in your own organization, but you need ideas for harnessing technology to solve it. In such situations, it often helps to look at examples of how others have tackled problems of their own. HFMA can help. From educational programs to webinars to articles such as those featured in hfm, HFMA regularly highlights innovative ways in which healthcare finance professionals are using technology to lower costs, improve care, and increase patient satisfaction. These topics also were the focus of speakers and participants at HFMA’s 2018 Thought Leadership Retreat. The event, which took place this past October in Washington, D.C, brought together a diverse group of thought leaders from across the healthcare industry, including providers, physicians, and health plans. Speakers and participants shared their ideas and experiences with employing advances in data analytics, technology, and artificial intelligence to drive innovation in health care and reshape the patient experience. HFMA members interested in learning more can access the retreat report at hfma.org/tlr.

Imagining a different tomorrow is the first step toward realizing your vision for what the future could be. The next step, of course, is determining how to get it done. That’s where we sometimes get stuck. I encourage you to tap into your HFMA community whenever you find yourself in that situation. Doing so can help convert your imagination into innovation.

Publication Date: Friday, February 01, 2019