By BETH RUDLOFF - Healthcare Executive in Residence for Health Innovators and COO Emeritus of UF Health Cancer Center - Orlando Health
Late August, GuideWell's Innovation Center put on a unique conference called Greater than Cancer. Chris Hillier, GWI's Chief Scientific Officer, designed the event around what he calls the immersion process, which takes a hand-selected cohort of clinicians, patients, and healthcare administrators through six months of divergent and convergent thought exercises.
Hillier didn't want to focus on the new breakthroughs in drugs, or even the effect of immunology and genomics on cancer. His focus was on the human side - the experience of the patient and their caregivers. As Patti Rogers, a breast cancer survivor presented, "Medicine killed my cancer, but it was the people who brought me back to life."
What are the most important issues and how do we support and help those going through cancer treatment? Normally the clinical community attempts to answer questions with expert panelists and presenters. However, GuideWell turned the conference into an interactive process that focused on emotion and connectedness, where attendees took turns in large groups and small to determine the key problems and solutions. The conversation centered around four categories: the patient and caregiver's experience, the provider's experience, how to fund cancer care and the psychological war. Divergence and convergence exercises, flip panels, breakout sessions that build upon each other and other novel processes were employed to drive the conversation and foster new relationships. The GuideWell Innovation CoRE provided an exceptional setting, with the theatre in the round, their innovation garage, hydro bar, flex space, and other amenities for conversation and collaboration.
Following the two-day kick-off event, GuideWell will host periodic convergent and divergent conversations - digitally and at the Innovation CoRE - over the course of 6 months. The ultimate goal of the immersion process is to surface actionable items which can advance the quality and outcomes of the cancer care experience. As Hillier says, "We don't want to just host events. We want to solve problems."
If you couldn't be there for the conference, you can still join in! There is a large digital conversation that started on Twitter August 25 (#gwicancer) that is ongoing. Stay tuned to www.healthinnovators.info for more updates.