“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…”

As I am walking through a sadly snow free, but beautifully lit up Uppsala crowded with stressed-out Christmas shoppers, I am reminded of how I spent the week before Christmas last year.

To think that it has been almost a year since quite a few us from Uppsala University Hospital – colleagues from Innovation Akademiska and clinical experts – locked ourselves up together with several companies researching and treating cancer, for 52 hours in an Innovation Race to explore how together we could address some of the challenges in cancer care. 52 hours of intense work, adrenalin and sweat. Afterwards we felt as if we had completed an important mission. There, at hotel Gillet, I think we were all just so proud of what was achieved in those three days of hard work and little sleep.  What would need to happen during the following 52 weeks for us to take these bright ideas and make them the patient’s reality seemed rather distant.

InnovationRace_InnovationAkademiska

But how do we make what happened in hotel Gillet not stay in the hotel, but rather be brought across Fyrisån to our hospital to be the reality for our future patients?  How do we go from that feeling of euphoria at the end of the Innovation Race and turn it into determination and hard work with project plans, budgets and clearly defined specifications? All the factors that normally are key to developing something new with lasting benefits, whether it is new products, services or ways of working. After all the creative thinking, how could we make something meaningful for the patient? 

In the day to day business of doctors and nurses there is however little room to focus on new sophisticated technology solutions when faced with patients that may just have had life changing news delivered. Priorities are obvious. Efforts that will bear fruit tomorrow, or even next year, must of course be set aside in favor of the help that can be provided here and now, in terms of medical therapy but also things like just listening or holding a hand…

How to make room in healthcare for development of new procedures and products is perhaps a question bigger than what any innovation race can address, and requires a lot of consideration from decision makers and stakeholders. What Innovation Akademiska can do here and now is to show results of the magic that can happen when we join together and focus on generating ideas and solutions together with brilliant people from other disciplines, other worlds.

Our target is to launch three of the ten project concepts set up at the race. Early in 2018, when the 52 weeks since the race have passed, there will be new tools to facilitate the process of deciding on the treatment for patients. We will have tried new ways of involving the patient in the development of healthcare. We will also launch dedicated information to patients based on their specific condition and chosen treatment. It is not rocket science, but a small step aimed at accelerating the collaboration with the life sciences’ industry that is one of Uppsala University Hospital’s key missions.

So, what about the Innovation Race? Will we do something similar again?

Yes, we probably will. But this time we will make sure resources are in place not only for the race itself but also for the implementation to follow. For those willing to commit to the whole process of developing bright ideas into solutions available to patients, this will be a fantastic opportunity. A chance to design the healthcare solutions of tomorrow in collaboration with colleagues, patients and the life sciences’ industry. This will make the journey from “Vegas” back to the hospital smoother. Then hopefully even more of the bright ideas and solutions from the hospital’s employees and our collaboration partners can be implemented in healthcare and bring value to patients.

Christina Wass
Christina Wass
Project leader, Innovation Akademiska

Innovation Race® was developed by Innovation Plant AB. Innovation Plant acted as facilitators of the 2016 Innovation Race on healthcare in Uppsala.

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