Digital Innovation Hub

Our first Idea Lab: Improving Patient Engagement

On Monday January 12, 2015, Brigham Innovation Hub premiered its first Idea Lab to the Brigham & Women’s Hospital community. An Idea Lab consists of 90 minutes of focused brainstorming to discuss problems and possible solutions facing BWH clinicians and scientists on a daily basis.
This first Idea Lab theme was Employee Patient Engagement, focusing on how BWH can better serve its employees in engaging in their personal health.  We kicked off the session with a presentation by our Clinical Champion Dr. Erika Pabo, Assistant Medical Director of Primary Care. She introduced the importance of patient employee engagement, citing that engaged patients make “better” patients with less unmet health needs, who receive higher quality care, and require lower costs. Dr. Jason Block from the Obesity Prevention Program at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute presented the employee wellness study he implemented here at BWH. He found that there is a desire by employees for a visible wellness initiative at all times of day.

The 40 Idea Lab attendees came from an array of backgrounds including physicians and designers to tackle this issue with the lifestyle of the hospital employee in mind.  Groups were divided into themes on Wellness such as diet and exercise, as well as on Primary Care such as access & scheduling, location, care outside the office and in between visits, and specialty care coordination between primary care and wellness. Lack of time was a common thread and the issue that hospital employees lack flexible schedules was at the root of most problems. Some creative ideas that sprouted from this evening include:

  • Featuring a “superfood” of the week in the cafeteria along with recipe cards for distribution
  • Having hospital leadership hold cooking demonstrations of their favorite dishes
  • 15-minute exercise podcasts to listen to during breaks
  • Weekly pop-up clinics to test for biomarkers such as serum cholesterol levels or blood glucose.

The energy was palpable through the room and it was evident because ideas were spilling over past the 90 minutes. Promising ideas have the potential to be tapped further with lasting connections to be bridged with colleagues and experts across disciplines and with the guidance from the Innovation Hub. The Idea Lab series hopes to spread the “innovation bug” to the BWH community and foster a culture of innovation at large. For more information on upcoming Idea Labs click here.


erika pabo pic           group pic 2







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