Now into year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have hit an inflection point inside OSF Innovation. We continue the fight against the virus understanding it will likely transition to an endemic disease that is much like the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). At the same time, we believe OSF Innovation needs to continue to ideate, test and create a future state of health care.
There is room to continue the battle and design for our future.OSF has Mission Partners from across the Ministry dedicated to maintaining quality clinical services as the pandemic smolders. Alongside these efforts, OSF Innovation will do what it does best and recommit a portion of talented Mission Partners to discover and implement what’s next in health care.
So, what’s next? With help from collaborators in and outside OSF, we have plans in place to make strides in three opportunities that will help us place people at the center of our health care ecosystem. These include developing protocols for data privacy and security and exploring blockchain technologies, expanding use of an OSF Innovation-made software that improves access to health care, education and disease prevention and growing the Innovation Academic Incubator.
The cutting edge spaces we are exploring feed into three of the five focus areas we use as a guide for investments and activities in innovation. They also integrate well with each other.
It all begins with discovering technologies that allows us to partner with individuals on how their personal data is used in health care. The solution we believe has the most potential for OSF is blockchain, an emerging technology trend making waves in the industry.
Blockchain is a distributed, decentralized peer-to-peer system that supports the exchange, storage and access of data between connected parties in a highly secure way. This allows for easy sharing of data among health care entities. It has the potential to give individuals greater accessibility and control over their data. The technology also offers the opportunity to reward people when they share their information for meaningful medical research.
In addition to finding the best ways to utilize blockchain technology, we are excited to expand the use of OSF CommunityConnect (OCC), a new platform developed by OSF Innovation. The software pulls in data from a variety of sources to prioritize the needs of historically marginalized groups in the Chicago area. The goal is to link people to resources that can improve access to health care, education and disease prevention.
To advance our work in data and security, we need to engage with bright minds outside of the Ministry who specialize in data technologies. With that, we want to expand the number of academic partnerships we have through our Innovation Academic Incubator (IAI).
The IAI is an interconnected system where clinicians across the Ministry can easily connect with faculty and students from university partners and vice versa to develop and implement innovative health care solutions, convert them into companies or license them to outside companies. We already have partnerships with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois Chicago.
We are in the process of pursuing collaborations with other institutions across the state.
It starts with data
For us to begin tackling some of the issues we face in serving our patients’ needs, we need to have the right data to understand how they live their lives and how that impacts their health. With that information, we can mitigate the problems that negatively impact the health of the people we serve. We can also work on solutions that better meet our patients where they are.
Overall, this work will help OSF grow its Mission, capabilities and the number of people we serve.