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SOMI Hackathon 2017 – Meet our Judge

11 August 2017

This weekend, our team member James Britton will be representing Medtronic as a Judge at the Society of Medical Innovation [SOMI] 2017 Hackathon.

SOMI is a student run organisation at the University of New South Wales, whose core belief is that students have the power to create innovations in medicine that will shape the way we live. It is open to students from all faculties and schools. According to President Jacqueline Kernahan, “The Hackathon aims to inspire creative problem solving through a competitive environment and foster the development of skills which can be applied to future projects. The winners will receive a monetary prize to put towards the further development of their product.”

We wish all presenters the very best. Here is a chance to meet our Judge!

James Britton

Hi James, what is your role at Medtronic? I am currently enjoying my time as the Senior Program Manager, Integrated Health Solutions (IHS) & Value Based Healthcare (VBHC) for our Asia Pacific region. IHS is our services business that solves healthcare market needs through innovative solutions that focus on efficiency and effectiveness of care, mostly within hospitals. Healthcare is transforming to remain sustainable – at the heart of value-based healthcare is a shift to put the patient back at the center of care – what’s best for the patient should drive the system. At Medtronic we are actively partnering to drive meaningful dialogue from thought-leaders across healthcare and how we can transform the incentive in health today to focus on meaningful outcomes to the patient relative to the costs to deliver these. I’ve been developing and executing on our IHS and VBHC strategy along with my team for about 3 years now, overall been working in healthcare almost 10 years starting my career engineering CT scanners.

What interests you most about medical innovation? Of all the industries, healthcare excites me most. To ‘innovate’ in healthcare, the product, service and/or methodology need to improve patient lives – that’s pretty awesome! In a nutshell, those that work in medical innovation will have the opportunity to look at the way healthcare is delivered today and provide solutions that improve patient outcomes for the long term. This is not only focused in the hospital setting but also on how we keep patients out of hospitals as well as deliver treatment effectively within the home care setting. There are tonnes of opportunity for innovation in healthcare and for us to improve patient lives in Australia. Then, we can leverage those best practices in other parts of the world.

What do you think is the key area to address/solve to help medical innovation thrive in Australia? Medical innovation – product or process – has the potential to drive better outcomes and improve costs to the healthcare system long term. But we need to think about how we measure those outcomes. Macroeconomic factors of the modern healthcare environment prioritise volume over value. To facilitate innovation and creative thinking we need to redesign this view and prioritise outcomes that matter to the patient.

You are a judge for the Society of Medical Innovation’s Health Hackathon. What are you looking forward to most? Really two big things: 1) I’ve always have had a passion for developing employees, whether that means their next promotion or supporting their decision to go back to school for additional education. I see a similar opportunity being a judge for this Hackathon; I get to learn more about the future pioneers of healthcare innovation, what are their values, drivers and career interests. 2) I think it’s going to be fun hearing everyone’s ideas!

Why do you think it’s important to support initiatives like the Hackathon? Transitioning a worthy idea into reality is tough – but it is also important if we want to advance society and drive innovation. Initiatives such as the Hackathon provide problem–solvers and innovators with the opportunity to showcase their idea, and an avenue to help realise it.

What is your advice for people looking for support of their ‘big idea’? Pin point what problem you’re solving and the economic value that will bring to a healthcare system. In today’s healthcare market, with an aging population, rise in chronic diseases and a unsustainable growth in healthcare spend as a percentage of GDP, any meaningful medical innovation will have to improve outcomes for patients or reduce costs to the healthcare system (or both!). Not so easy to do, but definitely possible. Once you have that, prototype and pilot your ‘big idea’ with the appropriate stakeholders so that you can test the impact. Then once you have some positive results work on a sustainable business model that allows for scalability.

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