eFIT Technology Engagement Forum—Creating a physician community of innovation

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 2, March 2018, page(s) 126 News
Kendall Ho, MD, FRCPC, Eric Cadesky, MD, CM, David Wilton, MD

Would you consider increasing the use of innovative technologies in your practice in the upcoming year? If you responded “yes,” you are not alone. More than 90% of participants in a recent technology conference for physicians responded in the same way.

As featured in the November and December 2017 issues of the BCMJ, digital health is becoming mainstream in health care service delivery and innovations.

Physicians play a vital role in partnership with health policy makers, other health professional groups, patients, and caregivers toward judicious introduction, selection, validation, and implementation of technological innovations into health practices in communities and hospitals. The opportunities and challenges of these innovations, and how physicians can contribute to accelerate their adoption judiciously and meaningfully, were the topics of the Technology Innovation Engagement Forum held on 25 January 2018 at the Vancouver General Hospital.

Organized by the engagement For Innovative Technologies (eFIT) Interest Group, sponsored by the Vancouver Physician Staff Association Facilities Engagement Initiative, and supported by Vancouver Coastal Health and VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation, the forum had three primary objectives:
-    Bring together medical peers and trainees, experts, and mentors to build a thriving community of interest.
-    Share experiences to translate innovative ideas into clinical care, system innovation, and commercialization.
-    Collaborate with VCH and health organizations to accelerate technology uptake to bring benefits to patients and health systems.

VCH CEO Mary Ackenhusen opened the session noting the important role of technology in health system transformation, themes echoed by Dr Trina Larsen Soles, president of Doctors of BC, Dr Dermot Kelleher, dean of the UBC Faculty of Medicine, Barbara Grantham, CEO of VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation, and Dr Lyne Filiatrault, Vancouver Physicians Staff Association facilities engagement co-lead.

Over 150 physicians, medical trainees, health care leaders, and industry partners participated in the forum to hear brief presentations from physician innovators who shared their insights and experiences. Presentations were followed by a panel discussion, dinner, and an opportunity to network and learn more from poster displays and colleagues involved with medical technology initiatives.

Examples of physician-led innovations presented at the forum included a software application for reducing repeat adverse drug events, a portable headband to monitor brain vital signs, a real-time activity display board for operating room scheduling inspired by the airline industry, and web-based sharing and search for locums to cover medical practices.

Of course, not all innovative concepts make it. Dr Eric Cadesky, eFIT co-chair, emphasized how quickly technology changes and that all too often an idea is obsolete by the time it is ready to be shared. His advice to early innovators was to make sure to fail fast so they could learn and innovate again.

The event was livestreamed via webcast (available at www.digem.med.ubc.ca/eFIT) and tweets trended in Vancouver, resulting in more than 19 800 impressions that evening. At the conclusion of the event, 83% of participants thought that the forum was timely, and 86% felt is was important. Participants were eager to know what the next steps were, and there are already requests to hold another forum soon.

We would very much like to receive further feedback. If you would like to contact us or join eFIT, visit www.digem.med.ubc.ca/eFIT, email digem.assistant@ubc.ca, or follow us at @VPSA_eFIT or #eFIT4Change.
—Kendall Ho, MD
—Eric Cadesky, MD
—David Wilton, MD
Co-chairs, engagement For Innovative Technologies (eFIT) Interest Group, Vancouver Physicians Staff Association