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3 Takeaways from the HealthLeaders Innovation Exchange

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   July 22, 2019

Opportunities and risks abound as healthcare organizations adopt new digital technologies and seek to manage disruption.

The digital future of healthcare is now.

More than 40 top executives from healthcare organizations across the country attended last week's HealthLeaders Innovation Exchange in Ojai, California, to share success stories and cautionary tales from the frontlines of digital invention and population health initiatives.

1. Clinical decision support adoption

An informal poll of Exchange participants found that 94% of the healthcare organizations present at the event were either actively using or developing computer-based clinical decision support tools.

Diana Rhyne, MHA, executive director of research and innovation at WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina, said clinical decision support tools are harnessing a wealth of digital data in clinical settings.

"Ultimately, all the tools, tech, and innovations we use in healthcare are embraced for their ability to impact the care we provide to our patients and families. We're in an era now where we have a tremendous amount of data: clinical data, social determinants of health data, evidence-based care guideline data, never ending data! Impactful clinical decision support tools enable clinicians to translate this data into actionable results," Rhyne said.

Clinical decision support has a wide range of applications, she said. "We see these tools across the spectrum in healthcare: from managing a patient's pain while avoiding harmful addictions, to intervening before a patient decompensates in the ICU."

2. 'Re-humanizing healthcare'

Digital technology has the potential to elevate healthcare to a higher plain, said Chris DeRienzo, MD, CMO at Palo Alto, California-based Cardinal Analytx Solutions and an adjunct professor at Stanford University.

"It's incumbent upon us as leaders to ensure our people spend as much of their professional time as possible doing work that brings them joy. And whenever I ask clinicians, 'What brings you professional joy?' the answer is inevitably 'spending time with my patients.' As a result, when we point the incredibly powerful engine of artificial intelligence and machine learning toward solutions that maximize the time clinicians spend with the patients who need them most, we not only help reduce burnout, but also simultaneously and systematically begin re-humanizing healthcare."

3. Leading disruption from the top

In managing disruption, healthcare leaders can learn a valuable lesson from Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, said Neil Carpenter, vice president of strategic planning at Array Advisors.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg orchestrated the billion-dollar acquisition of Instagram mainly to ensure that Facebook would not be disrupted by the upstart social media platform, which at the time was generating no revenue.

"Today in healthcare, a lot of the disruption has been delegated from the CEO down. In other industries, the CEO owns disruption. That's part of their bread and butter. So, Mark Zuckerberg is out there looking for the next Instagram—how to buy them, how to build them into his business model, and how to avoid becoming obsolete," Carpenter said.

The Innovation Exchange is one of six healthcare thought-leadership and networking events that HealthLeaders holds annually. While the events are invitation-only, qualified healthcare executives, director-level and above, will be considered. To inquire about the HealthLeaders Exchange program, email us at

Photo credit: Pictured above: Chris DeRienzo, MD, CMO at Palo Alto, California-based Cardinal Analytx Solutions and an adjunct professor at Stanford University, makes a point at last week's HealthLeaders Innovation Exchange. (Photo: David Hartig)

Christopher Cheney is the CMO editor at HealthLeaders.


Adoption of computer-based decision support tools is widespread.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to reduce clinician burnout and restore staff joy in clinical settings.

Healthcare organization CEOs should lead efforts to manage disruption.

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