On any given Saturday, in almost any city in this country, it wouldn't be uncommon to find a room full of physicians working together—in a hospital or clinic, perhaps. But on Saturday, Aug. 20, the room was in the Museum of Vancouver and it wasn't a patient with a challenging case that brought these physicians together but the opportunity to flex their collective innovation muscles.
On the eve of the Canadian Medical Association's (CMA's) Annual Meeting and General Council, its newest company, Joule™, hosted eight teams of physicians in an inaugural Joule H2 - Hacking Health Design Day. With the help of its partner, Hacking Health, Joule gave entrepreneurial physicians an opportunity to work with creative coaches and designers within a methodology designed to hone innovation skills.
"This is part of what sets Joule apart," says Zayna Khayat, Senior Advisor, Health System Innovation at MaRS Discovery District, and keynote speaker at the event. "The very nature of innovation requires the combining of diverse ideas and perspectives … but when layered with the robust design methodology of Hacking Health and access to expertise that the CMA network can bring, the ideas conceived have a much greater likelihood of being implemented at scale."
For Joule, events like this design day are about engaging members in new ways to drive physician-led innovation and to bring revolutionary products and services to CMA members.
"Everyone is building innovation capacity across health care today, but Joule uniquely provides would-be clinical entrepreneurs with a pathway for scalable ideas to grow," says Khayat. "Joule has a captive audience with over 83,000 CMA members, an established infrastructure and from what I can see here today, the power to capture the imagination of physicians. "
Joule's position is that physicians are uniquely positioned to address many of the health system challenges that exist today. "It's not easy to create change in health care," says Lindee David, Joule CEO. "But if you look at the subset of physicians that attended the design day, all it took was some structure and support for the eight teams to design solutions that health teams and patients could one day benefit from."
Of the eight teams that "hacked-out" some pretty big ideas, two were awarded bragging rights. Team "Blue", whose idea was an innovative app to help with end-of-life decisions, was deemed most viable and marketable. Judges were Luc Sirois of Hacking Health and Dr. Joshua Liu, Joule Innovation Council Chair along with Khayat and David. Physician attendees gave the People's Choice award to team "Code Runner"—who came up with a tablet solution for documenting codes in a hospital setting— for being the most inspirational innovation presented.
"With each one of these events it is our hope that we inspire physicians and help them see the power of possibilities," said David at the close of the session. "At Joule we don't think it should be so challenging to make things better—that's why we have developed Joule Innovation—to make it easier."