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Intermountain Makes Physical Investment in Healthcare Transformation

Analysis  |  By Mandy Roth  
   September 25, 2018

The new facility will connect people, ideas, and resources, including the first global CHIME Innovation Center.

There's a lot of talk these days about the need to transform healthcare. Intermountain Healthcare built a place for it to happen.

The Kem C. Gardner Intermountain Transformation Center, a four-story, 120,000-square-foot facility on the medical center's Murray, Utah, campus, was envisioned as a location that will bring together the people, resources, and ideas to change the future of healthcare. There are numerous elements that make it a distinctive entity within a health system, including a focus on education and leadership, as well as a desire to create connections with a global community.

Creation of this facility sets compelling example of what's possible when vision and generous funding align, thanks, in part, to a $20 million donation from center's namesake. Gardner was a former Intermountain board member for 36 years, who served as chair of the Intermountain board of trustees from 2007-2012, and is current chair of the Intermountain Foundation Board.

Home to the First CHIME Innovation Center

The Center will be home to a number of institutes and initiatives, including the first of five international innovation centers for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). Marc Probst, Intermountain's vice president and CIO planted the idea for this concept during a speech he delivered in India a couple years ago when serving as chair of the CHIME Board of Trustees.

"I just stopped and said, 'I know there's at least one great idea and this room that would save lives and lower the cost of healthcare, and I don't think there's a good vehicle to share those ideas.' " Probst recalls. "That kind of got the juices flowing of what [the organization could do] to help share those ideas and either get funding behind them or good clinical background and research behind them.

"Now we're just growing that seed'" Probst says. "The center becomes important because you need a place to bring people together and train them how to do innovation."

To foster initiatives, it's necessary to put processes in place and educate people how to employ them, says Probst. "How do you take an idea from your head and put it into some kind of structured format and share it? You need to have basic capabilities, and that's what we're trying to do."

International Focus

The CHIME innovation center plans to reach across international borders. Once the other global centers are established, one notion Probst has considered is each holding competitions similar to those on the television show, Shark Tank, with finalists from each center competing against each other.

"We feel that there are a lot of great ideas that exist for healthcare IT innovation outside the United States," he says. "We were looking for a vehicle to help facilitate that conversation and share innovative ideas between countries."

A Broad Scope of Programs to Foster Innovation

In addition to the CHIME program, the Intermountain Transformation Center will house a collection of institutes and programs focused on innovation, education and leadership. Administrators hope international healthcare experts will visit the center to collaborate and share ideas to improve healthcare for patients worldwide. 

“We are stewards of Intermountain’s long tradition of innovation, and this Transformation Center will be a hotbed, locally, regionally, nationally, and globally as we seek to advance that tradition,” said Marc Harrison, MD, Intermountain Healthcare president and CEO, in a news release.

  • The Intermountain Healthcare Delivery Institute will relocate to the new facility, continuing to attract health professionals around the world to participate in training and courses.
  • The Institute for Healthcare Leadership, led by Intermountain president emeritus Charles Sorenson, MD, will offer leadership training courses for medical professionals. The Institute includes a simulation center where participants can practice and enhance their leadership skills.
  • The center will become the new home base for Intermountain's own Innovation Lab, which includes creating tools to better meet the needs of caregivers and patients. For example, 3D printing technology enables clinicians to produce copies of patient organs to gain additional insight into performing life-changing surgeries that weren’t previously possible.
  • With more than 1,500 active research studies in more than 20 clinical areas, the Transformation Center is equipped to make medical discoveries that improve care and save lives.

Mandy Roth is the innovations editor at HealthLeaders.

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