Last week, five of us ESTEEM students had the opportunity to attend the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovations Summit from October 24-25. We got to hear from some amazing speakers, watch healthcare startup companies pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, network with a variety of experts in the healthcare field, and learn about the latest cutting-edge biomedical technology. It was a whirlwind few days as we went from event to event, and an overall incredible learning experience. It’s hard to pinpoint a single speaker or event that was my favorite, but as I reflect on the Summit as a whole, a few key points stand out.
There were several themes and concepts that continued to come up throughout the conference. Healthcare is an evolving field that is going through significant change right now. There are many challenges but also a multitude of opportunities for stakeholders in the industry. There is a general trend toward “health” care rather than “sick” care, which is where the current model is focused. Preventative medicine is on the rise, especially with a stronger application of data analytics.
Many speakers emphasized the opportunity in the healthcare industry with big data to improve the physician-patient interaction. The CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, made an interesting point that highlighted a key feature of healthcare innovation – 10 years ago, innovations in the medical field were concentrated in devices and pharmaceuticals; while these are still transforming today, current innovations are more focused in digital ventures. As an ESTEEM student, this was exciting to hear as the program has taught me the importance of understanding how technology and data optimization can have an impact on the business side of STEM ventures.
Lastly, an interesting idea that I had not previously considered is the challenge of innovation in the medical field. The field is not intended to be risky, but “risky” is the name of the game when it comes to being innovative and implementing new ideas. The nature of the healthcare industry has traditionally been conservative and “play it safe,” and for good reason – dealing with patient lives is not something to risk. For this reason, healthcare innovation is a deeper investment that takes more time. Despite this challenge, innovation is necessary if the industry wants to improve and be able to better treat patients. Dr. Cosgrove noted that the success of the Cleveland Clinic has been a result of the organization having an innovative mindset.
The Summit was a great experience from which my classmates and I have many good takeaways. This is just one example of the incredible opportunities we have in ESTEEM to “get out of the building” and pursue our passions.