An Inside Look at the Innovation Driving our Healthcare Customers

Healthcare Technology
Minneapolis, MN
Aug 16, 2019

Industry disruption and data-driven solutions were top discussion points at the 2019 American Hospital Association Leadership Summit. Dave Baker and David Wilson, both Vice President of Healthcare Real Estate Development at Ryan Companies, attended the conference to learn firsthand from healthcare leaders across the country about the innovative strategies they’re embarking on to stay competitive and advance quality, affordability, and value. Nearly 1,500 hospital and health system leaders took part in the events.


AHA President and CEO, Rick Pollack kicked off the event by saying, “The theme of this year’s meeting is to lead, connect and transform, because our field is continuing to face historic change.” Adding, “We know that there will always be changes we need to make to prepare for the future. That’s what we’ve always done, and that’s what we’re doing today.” Many ideas were offered in breakout session topics on addressing the changing healthcare landscape. Some of those concepts included engaging people in their own communities to provide more convenient access to care, looking outside of the traditional healthcare continuum to include partnering with housing agencies and food security programs, and the focus on overall health and wellness to positively impact the health of a population in a more holistic way.

“I have worked closely with health systems across the country to enhance their care environments by incorporating a broader mix of uses on or near their campuses—like complementary retail and healthy dining options—and I have seen how that positively impacts their patients’ experience. I really enjoyed the sessions about striving toward a more comprehensive health and wellness model as a wider lens on healthcare,” said Dave Baker.


Many sessions were dedicated to strategies on addressing and overcoming social determinants of health. In one session about equity of care Tori Bayless, President and CEO of Anne Arundel Medical Center, pointed out the importance of not being afraid of what the data may show you, but instead to learn from it and act. Another speaker, Christopher M. Nolan of Rush University System for Health, discussed his organization’s efforts, spotlighting stark data of Chicago residents’ life expectancy gap across various neighborhoods—a gap of 16 years between the Loop and West Garfield Park.

Christopher Nolan


In her keynote about disruptive innovation, author Linda Bernardi spoke about the “healthcare experience economy” as an important consideration for disruption—pointing to the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy as a shining example of the intersection of medical and scientific excellence housed in an exceptional physical environment. Her book, The Inversion Factor, focuses on moving from a “product first” orientation to innovation that addresses the needs of the customer.

On a similar note, Sarah Yaezy, Chief Digital Strategy Officer of Providence St. Joseph Health, recommended that health systems embrace technology by collaborating with consumer-facing technology companies and even thinking more like them. She points out that health systems can learn from tech companies, as those companies don’t set out to disrupt incumbents; instead they innovate on behalf of their customers.

David Wilson summed up the three-day conference: “It was a great inside perspective on where our healthcare customers think the industry is going. I appreciated hearing about what innovative approaches they are taking and where they want to go, since their objectives drive how we can best partner with them.”

The 2020 AHA Leadership Summit will take place in San Diego from July 19 through the 21.

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