Author Archives: Brian C. Quinn

CRE Bacteria: The Next Superbug Threat in Your Hospital

Apr 2, 2013, 8:30 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria illustration Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria illustration courtesy of the CDC

“Bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics faster than we can stop them. This problem is now a public health crisis: Infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria contribute to more than 99,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone – more than AIDS, traffic accidents, and the flu combined.

At RWJF, we believe today’s health care problems demand innovative solutions. Pioneer grantee Extending the Cure takes a unique approach, looking at this public health problem through an economic lens. They propose comprehensive, incentive-based solutions, such as creating incentives to discourage unnecessary antibiotic use and encourage the development of new drug therapies. ETC also recognizes that while we can't beat the bacteria, we can slow them down if we start to view antibiotics differently. Just like water or trees, we must treat these drugs as a natural resource that can be depleted with overuse.

We all have a role to play in making sure antibiotics are around when we need them. In this post on KevinMD, Dr. Daniel J. Morgan tells us what it’s like to face superbugs in the health care system and points out the critical role that hospitals can, and should, play in the effort to stop them.”  — Brian C. Quinn

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Partnering with Freakonomics to Find Unconventional Approaches to Ending Childhood Obesity

Mar 27, 2013, 4:55 PM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

Solving intractable problems requires unconventional thinking. We recently partnered with some unconventional thinkers—the co-authors of Freakonomics—to convene a conversation on reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. We were interested in this collaboration because the experts at Freakonomics have a proven track record of thinking creatively and vigorously; they look at difficult problems through new lenses. 

The eclectic group of participants included:

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Calling for Problems: What Did We Hear? What’s Next?

Jan 24, 2013, 11:30 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

In December, we asked our readers to tell us about the health care problems they felt were most in need of innovation—the tough problems, the crucial ones, maybe even those they’d seen firsthand. The number of comments we received was encouraging. It has also challenged our thinking, and generated a great deal of discussion on our team.

One thing is certain: The conversation that ensued from that post confirmed that our team needs to do more listening—listening to patients, caregivers, health care professionals, innovators, thought leaders—the list goes on and on.

We saw some common themes in the problems you shared. A few of them are reflected in areas in which the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is already working. Clearly there are problems that, despite the intensive efforts of many really smart people, resist conventional solutions. Other themes showed us how important it is to always be examining what we’re doing from perspectives other than our own. 

So where do we go from here?  

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A Pioneer Auld Lang Syne

Dec 27, 2012, 11:45 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

As New Year’s Eve approaches, let’s take a look at a few of Pioneering Ideas’ greatest hits of 2012 one last time.

We rang in 2012 with a post about an idea Steve Downs called simple and dangerous—OpenNotes, an experiment that has enabled patients to read their doctors’ medical notes. We believe OpenNotes has the potential to transform the way patients engage with health care professionals—and take charge of their health.

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Calling for Problems

Dec 14, 2012, 9:15 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn / RWJF Brian Quinn

In the Pioneer Portfolio, we’re all about ideas—big ones and little ones—the ones that will help solve some of the toughest problems in health and health care. We have clearly articulated our strategy for investing in innovations and innovators who have the potential to transform areas such as the health care delivery system, the patient-provider relationship, and the education of health care professionals. That strategy has yielded some significant breakthroughs, and the hope for much more to come. 

But we’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle. Why? Because right now, we only hear from the folks who have solutions to offer. That approach, by its very nature, limits the number of problems we know about. Those of us who work on the Pioneer team only see health care from the proverbial 30,000-foot vantage point. We are not on the front lines, so we don’t see firsthand the issues health care providers, patients, and families struggle with every single day.

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