Creating a Culture of Innovation

Creating a Culture of Innovation

CHOC Children’s pediatric neurologist Sharief Taraman, MD, was dissatisfied with the lack of therapeutic options for children who suffer from traumatic brain injury. Instead of waiting on the sidelines for a new treatment to come along, he channeled this frustration into innovation, exploring novel ways to heal the injured brain.

Dr. Taraman studied nanotechnology and how tiny nanoparticles, which are even smaller than microscopic cells, can prevent further tissue damage from occurring after brain injury and also protect nearby brain cells from additional injury. The ultimate goal is to improve functional recovery in these young patients.

This innovative strategy is made possible through the establishment of the Sharon Disney Lund Medical Intelligence Innovations Institute, known as MI3. Pediatric cardiologist Anthony Chang, MD, chief intelligence and innovation officer at CHOC, is the visionary behind MI3.

MI3 has fostered an inherent culture of innovation at CHOC, providing grants to physicians and associates for “protected innovation time” to seek creative solutions to problems and holding open monthly meetings to share their ideas.

"Knowledge gained from studies does not change the world. It is the transformation of this knowledge - taking an idea and turning it into something useful - that makes the greatest impact in pediatric medicine."

One of the MI3 goals is for CHOC to be a driving force in using artificial intelligence to improve the health of children on a global scale. “Artificial intelligence in this context is using algorithms, predictive analytics and data mining to process the vast amount of information collected worldwide and unlock medical answers that can save lives,” Dr. Chang said.

The creation of MI3 has also served as the catalyst of a global pediatric health care innovation movement, the international Society for Pediatric Innovation, called iSPI. CHOC has hosted iSPI conferences in 2014 and 2015 to bring together leaders from a network of close to 50 pediatric hospitals worldwide to share ideas that drive innovation. The “Pediatrics 2040” conference is held biennially.

Dr. Mousses notes MI3’s focus on developing a culture of innovation will uniquely poise CHOC to make an impact in pediatric health care. “Knowledge gained from studies does not change the world,” he explains. “It is the transformation of this knowledge – taking an idea and turning it into something useful – that makes the greatest impact in pediatric medicine.”

Turning innovative ideas into reality served as the impetus for CHOC’s decision to become a partner of The Innovation Institute, a health care “incubator” based in Orange County that helps nurture ideas and bring them to market. CHOC staff and physicians have access to the space and expertise offered through The Innovation Institute, giving them the opportunity to see their results brought to the health care marketplace.

“Innovation and transforming ideas into reality doesn’t happen in a vacuum, especially in pediatric medicine,” Dr. Taraman says. “It takes combining resources through partnerships and then access to these resources, which both MI3 and The Innovation Institute afford us.”

CHOC Children's Peds 2040

Dr. Anthony Chang is leading the hospital’s innovation strategy with efforts that include the biennial “Pediatrics 2040” conference.

Bold Ideas + Visionary Donors = Innovation

Sharon D. Lund FoundationInnovation requires two key ingredients: bold ideas and courage. CHOC Children’s is fortunate to have both renowned thought leaders in pediatric medicine and courageous donors with a vision to truly transform children’s health.

The Sharon D. Lund Foundation is one such forward-thinking donor. In keeping with the generous spirit of Walt Disney’s daughter Sharon, the Foundation supports projects that not only impact children in Orange County but globally. It was with a $5 million donation from the Foundation that CHOC founded the Sharon Disney Lund Medical Intelligence Innovations Institute (MI3), bringing together key people from within the hospital and beyond to foster creativity.

“After meeting with CHOC representatives, the biggest thing that grabbed us was the future of medicine, and where medicine is going for children, how quickly it’s changing,” board member Michelle Lund said. “Being part of the Disney family, I think it’s important for us to embrace innovations that are coming our way. My grandfather, Walt Disney, was a foreseer of the future, so we are very excited to help continue that.”