Navigating Healthcare IT: Winning Strategies to Commercialize Your HIT Invention

Partners WEB Blog Graphics 171013 1032 SYMPOSIUM 150

The opportunities and challenges of commercializing Healthcare Information Technology, or HIT, are different from those in licensing other patent-protected technologies. The third Symposium Series session, held on December 7th, took up that challenge and focused on the many activities Partners is engaged in to facilitate development of cutting edge HIT tools to support patient care.

Click here to watch the full length video.

This information-packed session featured two expert panels: the first included IT leaders throughout Partners HealthCare (PHS), who provided insights about the direction of future technologies and how they’re being used to facilitate and commercialize research. The second panel featured top PI’s who shared how they turned their innovative software and systems into valuable commercial products.

Attendees received timely advice in identifying commercial applications, finding collaborators, accessing valuable resources, and what it takes to make a breakthrough product that is commercially viable.

They also learned:

  • How Partners is leveraging HIT to advance patient care
  • The resources available to help PHS investigators create HIT innovations
  • Key steps to commercializing HIT inventions
  • How top PIs are actively developing innovative solutions


The first panel was moderated by Trung Do, Vice President, Business Development, Innovation, Partners HealthCare. Mr. Do was joined by PHS leaders who provided insights into how HIT ideas can become breakthrough applications.

Jim Noga, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Partners HealthCare; Adam Landman, MD, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Brigham Health; and Henry Chueh, MD, Chief, Division of Biomedical Informatics, Massachusetts General Hospital discussed the resources available to help PHS staff build, deploy, and commercialize HIT inventions. Attendees heard directly the HIT opportunities, priorities, and strategies of one of the nation’s most important healthcare IT environments.

PHS panel from left to right: Jim Noga, VP and CIO, Adam Landman, MD, Henry Chueh, MD, Trung Do, VP

Jim Noga started the session by talking about Partner’s mission around HIT and the long history of innovation. “Patient care, teaching, discovery, and serving the community, in all aspects healthcare IT plays a role,” he said. “Sometimes in digital health people immediately think of patient engagement and patient empowerment, but it goes well beyond that.” He continued, “There are many opportunities…it’s about artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s about things like way-finding in a hospital. Many, many opportunities and I look forward to getting back and energizing innovation in the healthcare IT space.”

Dr. Landman expanded on that by saying, “When I think about HIT, what we’re really looking for are solutions that address the quadruple aim…we’re seeking solutions that improve overall health, that improve quality and safety, and that reduce costs. But importantly, Christine Sinsky recently added a fourth aim, and that was to improve the clinician experience.” He finished, “It’s really exciting to be here talking about this today, about how we’re going to continue to lead the nation and the world in digital health.”

When asked how he thinks about the value of trial and error, Dr. Chueh addressed the benefits of being at MGH. He said, “The hat you wear as a clinician is different than the hat you wear when you’re developing technology. So take advantage of that rich environment because it really is available for prototyping and rapid development and trying things. And honestly, being able to fail quickly.” He added, “I can’t emphasize that enough, that we have an environment where you can fail quickly and move on to the next thing and find the thing that really works.”

The second panel was moderated by Sandy Aronson, Executive Director, IT, Partners Personalized Medicine and included experts Kimberly Blumenthal, MD, Quality and Safety Officer for Allergy, MGH; Physician, MGH Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology; Kamal Jethwani, MD, Senior Director, Connected Health Innovation; PHS, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School; and Mark Michalski, MD, Executive Director, MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science.

Expert panel from left to right: Mark Michalski, MD, Kamal Jethwani, MD, Kimberly Blumenthal, MD, Samuel Aronson, Executive Director


When asked about hitting major milestones in the path to commercialization, Dr. Blumenthal addressed the keys that led to her successes. “First, if you’re a clinician and have an idea or an innovation that you think is worthwhile, and you really believe in it…you’re going to have to prove it. Ideas are cheap…you have to prove that it’s not just an idea, that it’s a product and that it has clinical value,” she said.

Dr. Jethwani then addressed what it takes to transition from the academic world to the commercial space. “Everyone who comes from within the Partners’ system are primarily clinicians or researchers who have a drive to solve a problem they’re facing in their day-to-day clinical work.” He then talked about transitioning these researchers from a clinical to a product mentality. “And researchers need to know that when they’re asked to pivot, it’s not that their idea is bad, they just need to think like a start-up. Researchers that can do that tend to do very well,” he concluded.

When asked how he handles advice to researches about how to get started in the innovation process, Dr. Michalski said, “It takes a lot of tenacity to go from that proto-idea to something that works in the market and your guides through this are folks from the Innovation team. They’re just really phenomenal at that.”

Click here to watch the full length video.

For more information about the Symposium Series, or to contact Partners HealthCare Innovation click here.

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