Iron Man Meets iHub: Resident Follows His Superhero’s Path to Innovation

When I walked into the iHub Open Innovation Studio on my first day, I was transported into a Silicon Valley-like workspace. The walls were bright blue and green. Large white boards covered portions of the walls with timelines, checkboxes and neon Post-it notes. Snacks and iHub swag sat on the large conference table in the middle of the room. Floor-to-ceiling windows extended the openness into the hallway. I felt my inner Tony Stark brimming with excitement. If you enjoy this kind of setting and health care innovation, this elective is for you!

The two weeks I spent with the iHub were planned based on my specific interests in digital health. Generally, I was invited to actively participate in meetings and calls related to their day-to-day operations, such as screening startups, planning events, evaluating ideas and developing strategies. Through several screening calls, I found that a clinical background is useful in scrutinizing the clinical significance of proposals that some startups promise. During one meeting, I met a BWH anesthesiology resident who works with Medumo, a product of a local digital health startup challenge, that has partnered with BWH and Massachusetts General Hospital to help scale their product. I’ve also connected with individuals in the clinical informatics community who offered opportunities to get involved during residency and insights into the fellowship.

What I love about innovation in health care is that it directly impacts patient experience and health outcomes. Brigham offers many resources to navigate through this complex landscape (and, quite literally, the hospital itself). Many mentors, opportunities and resources are available to explore digital health at the Brigham, and the iHub is the perfect elective to start as a trainee. The elective establishes a framework to understand early-stage planning of digital health products, and the feasibility to be developed and adopted in a hospital.