‘Disruptive work’ could improve health care through sharing

Usually when we talk about something being disruptive, it’s a bad thing. The wreck on the highway “disrupts” the morning commute. The snowstorm “disrupts” air travel. People on laptops and cell phones “disrupt” meetings.

But how about if we could disrupt something that’s just not working and make it better? Then, the disruption would be good, right?

A panel of patients, parents and doctors kicked off the design meeting of the collaborative network to improve chronic care

That’s exactly what a group that met here in Cincinnati is working on. It’s called the collaborative chronic care network or C3N. It involves the open sharing of information among doctors, among hospitals and clinics and among patients — all in the same network. Sharing in hopes of improving the way we deal with chronic conditions, like diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease or asthma.

And when we disrupt the way we’ve been doing things — when we change the model and do things differently — the hope is that patients will get better, faster. It’s not just hope. Many of the people who are part of the new C3N were/are involved in Improve Care Now, which has shown this really works.

As we wrote last fall, and as the data presented at an international meeting of gastroenterologists in November shows, open sharing information among doctors (there were no patients directly involved in the Improve Care Now network) has a dramatic impact. In a news release we wrote in part:

“A surprisingly easy and low-cost system of sharing treatment information improves dramatically the health of children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, a study released today shows.

“The initiative, called ‘ImproveCareNow,’ functions as an online information network, allowing caregivers to systematically collect and share data together about the latest treatment methods and their effectiveness. Creation and use of this kind of ‘global bulletin board’ has led to rapid improvements in the health of those children participating. The study reports a dramatic (20 percent) increase in the number of patients in remission…

“Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of the partners in the network. Based on the success of ImproveCareNow, researchers at Cincinnati Children’s recently were awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand the work.

“The system of providing care for the chronically ill is broken,” says Peter Margolis, MD, PhD, co-Principal Investigator of the new project. “What we aim to do … is to create a totally new system of providing care through widespread collaboration.”

This is the kind of disruption we’re talking about. The traditional doctor-patient relationship may change drastically. And that’s not necessarily bad — if it brings us better care and faster innovation.

There’s a lot more to come. We’ve brought together the Improve Care Now principals,  interested people from Lybba (which will help build the “platform” to allow the collaborative network to flourish), and other folks from Cincinnati Children’s and elsewhere in seeing this work continue and expand.

We have a lot of work to do. And it won’t be easy. But we’re excited to get started.

Stay tuned.

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