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If you look at the health care market, 95 percent is focused in the adult space, and pediatric usually gets five to eight percent of the dollars within the health care field. We really have to fend for ourselves and look at how we can create new marketable ideas.
Krista Nelson, director of innovation development at Children’s Mercy
Kansas City,
27
June
2017

Innovation: A key component of Children's Mercy's vision, woven into our strategic pillars

Krista+Nelson

One out of every five babies born with a single ventricle in their heart will die after going home between the first and second surgeries needed to correct the issue. But of the first 62 single-ventricle babies whose families used a new app that proactively monitors their cardiac activity, not one has died waiting for their second surgery.

At Children’s Mercy, this is what innovation looks like. It isn’t just a buzzword – it’s a lifesaver. That’s why according to Krista Nelson, director of innovation development at Children’s Mercy, it’s a “key component of Children’s Mercy’s vision, and it’s really woven into all our strategic pillars.”

Recently, Nelson was invited by the Kansas City Business Journal to join a panel of other innovators – providers, payers, vendors and other healthcare representatives – to discuss how the industry is changing and how they’re working to change alongside it.

She shared the mic with Qiana Thomason of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, James Roberson of KVC Hospitals, Darrin Clawson with Engage Mobile Solutions, JE Dunn Construction Company’s Rob Cleavinger and Pulse Design Group’s Rick Embers to talk about how each of their organizations is navigating a changing regulatory landscape and taking advantage of technological advances without losing sight of the common goal: improving patient experience.

“A passion area of mine is the human experience,” Nelson says. “Coming to a children’s hospital is a very emotional experience for a family. We are focusing first on the lobby, and how to make it much more inviting and less stressful. We want to create an environment that reduces that emotional stress. For example, we’re completing development of a new consumer app, with the first phase including indoor navigation with beacons throughout the hospital to help patients and families find their way in our facility.”

 

For Nelson, innovation isn’t the “throw everything at the wall to see what sticks” idea it is in some other places. Instead, it’s a concept that can be applied to nearly any industry, and has the highest likelihood of success when reached through a very defined process. That’s where she comes in.

In an organization full of doctors and healthcare experts, Nelson provides a renewed perspective using Human Centered Design as her approach to identifying the ideas that solve the deepest needs of our patients, families, and staff. Since early 2015, she has been running the hospital’s Center for Pediatric Innovation, leading the development of innovation initiatives throughout the organization. Before joining Children’s Mercy, she spent four years as an innovation leader at Hallmark Cards. According to her, the hospital has been innovating since long before she joined, but she, with the support of Children’s Mercy leadership are taking a purposeful approach to bring the theoretical to fruition.

In addition to CHAMP, the app created by our heart center team, that monitors the newborn babies’ with single ventricle hearts, she provided insight into another new app that supports rural hospitals and emergency medical services teams, is working to create a “genius bar” approach to care, and is supporting the shift toward telemedicine in general: “I think we’re trending towards clicks rather than bricks,” she says. This shift is in support of our millennial parents and Centennial patients’ needs.

In pediatrics, innovation is a lifesaver organizationally as well as literally, making it a concept Children’s Mercy takes seriously for many reasons. “If you look at the health care market, 95 percent is focused in the adult space, and pediatric usually gets five to eight percent of the dollars within the health care field,” Nelson says. “We really have to fend for ourselves and look at how we can create new marketable ideas.” Marketable ideas that bring value to our patients and families.

 

To read the transcription of the entire innovation panel, visit the Kansas City Business Journal.

Learn more about CHAMP.