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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, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation 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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Pioneering Reflections

Jan 3, 2013, 12:53 PM, Posted by Al Shar

Al Shar Al Shar

Before retiring, Al Shar, vice president and senior program officer, reflected on his time with Pioneer and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Along with a few others here, I’ve been on the Pioneer team since it began in 2003. What makes my case somewhat unique was that I didn’t have to be on the team. I had a “day job,” and no one asked or told me to join; I was there exclusively because I wanted to be. Looking back, what’s interesting about that is how little I, and others, understood about what Pioneer should be.

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A Pioneer Auld Lang Syne

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

Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation 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 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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Can we get off the “gold standard” of academic publishing?

Dec 13, 2012, 9:51 AM, Posted by Paul Tarini

Paul Tarini Paul Tarini

We have witnessed tremendous innovation growth over the last several decades. However, with change comes the need to adjust traditional practices that are standard in health and health care. The academic publishing model is no exception.

The current model of academic publishing treats traditional clinical trials as the gold standard for what gets published. Health and health care observers have long argued that focusing on trial results slows down the process of discovery and hinders practice innovation. In addition, the economics of this traditional publishing model are being challenged in our new reality of online, open-access publishing.

But what is the solution? Can we accelerate how we review and disseminate information without compromising the value of the traditional model? How can we improve on what has become the “gold standard” of academic publishing?

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