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The Big Idea: How a Ten Minute ‘Flash Mob’ Could Change Healthcare

The fourth tenet of GE's healthymagination initiative, right behind cost, access and quality, may very well be patient engagement. In order to change the healthcare system, it could be argued providers need to change the way they view the healthcare system. In this spirit, the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation hosts an annual innovation conference called the 'Transform Symposium' to bring meaningful, transformational change to health care through the power of design, collaboration, co-creation and partnerships. The event attracts a vibrant mix of researchers, providers, business leaders, designers, entrepreneurs and policymakers who work together to bring value and vision to the system.

This year’s event featured a robust agenda that addressed a variety of hot topics. Included was a 3-day innovation experience from the GE healthymagination team and GE Healthcare Global Design. The experience engaged consumers in their health and aimed to help primary care physicians succeed in a new era of patient involvement. Hundreds participating in these interactive, iterative sessions progressively built upon 4000 of each other’s thoughts and ideas making connections between topics such as better harnessing information technology, improving patient experience, system infrastructure, global accessibility and promoting general wellness and a healthier lifestyle.

Members of GE’s Software for Healthcare communications team spoke with GE Healthcare Global Design leader, Bob Schwartz, who described the highlight of the event as a '20-minute flash mob' in which he and his peers led a session from the main stage challenging hundreds of participants to brainstorm on four major themes from the previous innovation sessions:

  •     Restructuring healthcare coverage to make it more affordable
  •     Providing consumers with better access to their medical records
  •     Improving consumer trust in the healthcare delivery system
  •     Empowering consumers to hold more stake in healthcare decision-making

The result of the sessions: a ton of ideas plus a ton of excitement. “Improving healthcare is about taking the best ideas and building on them. That’s what we’ve been able to do with 800 of the top-thinkers in healthcare and design,” said Schwartz. 

Ideas included everything from 'deliver healthcare in different forms such as virtual consults and team medicine' to 'expand personal health records to a connected and evolving wellness care plan' and who knows what’s next? This session was about opening the dialogue, not ending it.  Schwartz and GE Healthcare Global Design believe that, ultimately, only part of the solution to global healthcare problems lies in equipment and providers. The rest lies in people—and the big idea.

GEHC’s Design team will be working with healthymagination and Mayo Transform to further define the ideas raised and build them into future plans for how GE and others can make a difference in healthcare.