Fueling Innovation in Health Systems

I was recently reading an article in MobiHealthNews on innovation in health apps specifically directed toward physicians and health systems, which featured this comment from Naomi Fried, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital: “Most healthcare mobile apps are built for consumers and focus on health and wellness, while only 20 percent are clinical apps.”

The topic has come up in some recent discussions I’ve been having—in a Child Center of NY Board meeting on using innovation to reduce system inefficiencies fueled by patients unaware of the impact of their behavior (most common example: blowing off doctor appointments!), as well as with a friend who’s a health strategist shooting to solve simple, time-consuming problems.

To those who understand the complex path from the doctor-patient conversation to treatment—diagnostic tests, prescription, reimbursement and follow-up—isolating and addressing pain points can make a significant difference.


Recognizing the need to spotlight hospital apps, the article notes Naomi created the FastTrack Innovation in Technology (FIT) Awards, with winners gaining access to expert assistance in building a prototype and conducting proof of concept. Honorees include apps that deliver test results faster and help patients and staff navigate the hallways of the Boston Children’s Hospital campus. These solutions were made possible by providing a think tank to cultivate ideas.


This is an exciting and entrepreneurial time for health technology. Apps that better connect clinicians and create system efficiencies can measurably improve patient care and health outcomes. As healthcare marketers, we must be on the lookout for these new companies; taking them as seriously as we would a blockbuster drug candidate or household-name wellness product. All have potential to save lives and reduce the burden of rising costs. Why aren’t we all having more “hackathons” to solve these critical problems, and have a real impact on the health system?

  • Sam Welch

    A veteran marketer of some of the world’s most recognizable names in healthcare, Sam brings a broad perspective to communications as Global Group President for Discovery Chicago, Razorfish Healthware and the Saatchi & Saatchi Health brand families. Agency offerings include professional promotion, consumer communications, branding, customer relationship management, digital promotion, and government affairs. Previous roles within PHCG include President of Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Communications Group in the U.S. and Chief Operating Officer of PHCG. Sam serves on the board of The Child Center of NY, an organization dedicated to serving at-risk youth through education, counseling, and youth development services.


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