A new incubator at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Primary Care hopes to tackle healthcare challenges from a new perspective. Multidisciplinary groups will work together in teams to identify the largest problems healthcare faces and refine solutions to solve those problems. Those teams will include engineers, designers, programmers, physicians and, most importantly, patients. InciteHealth, an initiative with the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Primary Care, is leading the incubator, which is a unique fellowship opportunity open to people from all disciplines across the country.
“What makes this incubator different from the traditional is that we are focusing on the early ideation phase to create concepts and ideas before teams begin forming solutions,” says Paola Abello, the InciteHealth Program Director.
Abello hopes that the incubator will transform how we treat primary care as our system moves away from a visit-based model. Specifically, it will look at how technology can accompany this shift while maintaining patient-oriented care and it will help leaders in the field grow. In the first year most teams won’t come up with a commercially viable solution. But, Abello says, they will have experience and connections with other members of their team, which is the best way to start pushing for more innovation in the field.
In February, the program will begin with a weekend orientation. Following the orientation, interdisciplinary teams will form. Each team will start with $1,000 for the ideation phase. Over the course of the year, teams will participate in four additional modules, including segments that cover entrepreneurial skills, marketing, developing concepts, and more. Teams will also meet outside of the modules to continue developing and prototyping ideas.
The incubator gives participants from different fields the opportunity to learn from each other as they dig deep into real problems and then hone in one that the whole team is passionate about. Furthermore, patient involvement encourages solutions that are developed for the patient, with an on the ground perspective. The incubator is open globally and applicants from around the world have expressed interest in participating in the program.
“This is a unique opportunity for people to really engage and learn from each other,” says Abello. “We want to be at the forefront of creating solutions to the problems patients face in healthcare. And we’re doing that by including patients in this program.”
Soniya Shah is an on-staff contributing writer at MedTech Boston. She's a senior at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a BS in technical writing. She has experience as a ghost writer and medical writer, and in developing software documentation.
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