Innovation Spotlight: Brigham & Women's Hospital

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, located in Boston, Massachusetts, was recently recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the top 50 hospitals with innovation programs. As a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s is well-known for its prominence in clinical care, medical research, and pioneering healthcare solutions so as to improve the lives of its patients and surrounding communities.

In 2013 BWH launched the Brigham Innovation Hub - frequently referred to as the iHub - to be a resource center for thought leaders and innovators in the medical field, both internal and external. As a focused hub for collaboration, iHub connects the renowned clinicians who work at BWH with the tools they need to address complex clinical challenges.

How does it do this? By turning breakthrough ideas into reality.

BWH leaders recognized that historically, the healthcare industry has lagged in adopting new technologies. By building an innovation powerhouse dedicated to addressing obstacles specifically within the field of healthcare, they hope to close that gap - not just at BWH, but for hospitals and health systems across the globe. 

iHub empowers innovators and problem solvers to get their ideas off the ground by offering focused support to overcome the many hurdles that come with piloting a new HIT solution. These hurdles include finding a clinical partner, navigating the security and legal requirements, and raising enough financial capital to pilot the concept.

Through iHub’s turnkey pilot process, innovators can find the resources and support to develop, evaluate, and commercialize new digital health platforms and tools, with the end goal of driving more seamless, patient-centered care and better health outcomes. According to the iHub website, “piloting at BWH offers an unrivaled opportunity to partner with and receive feedback from internationally acclaimed clinicians and leaders in healthcare.”

The iHub team has successfully fostered the development of healthcare solutions through its “Innovation Series”, which are co-developed with BWH stakeholders and fine-tuned with input from the hospital’s leadership. No two innovation series are exactly the same, but they provide an active forum where collaborators can:

  • Brainstorm to identify challenges, painpoints, or problems to help improve patient care or reduce operational inefficiencies

  • Develop and validate commercializable or research ideas that will be explored and developed further by teams

  • Propel ideas from the innovation forward toward commercialization with iHub resources, including project management, business analytics, team building, and funding planning

Brigham and Women’s iHub is innovation at its finest because it isn’t simply an innovation in and of itself; rather, it facilitates a process in which outside-of-the-box ideas can flourish. The possibilities for the development of new solutions and “healthcare hacks” are endless, giving forward thinkers in the industry the opportunity to bring their ideas to life.

In their own words:How is iHub different? We are disrupting from inside one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers.” Indeed, by marrying the unlimited capacity for human inventiveness with the vast resources of one of the finest medical institutions in the country, that is exactly what their Innovation Hub has done.