The Kansas City Quality and Value Innovation Consortium (QVIC) is a collaboration of stakeholders working in healthcare improvement in the Kansas City region. The project is powered by BioNexus KC. Stakeholders involved include hospital systems; healthcare providers; researchers in quality improvement, implementation science, health outcomes and health economics/value; purchasers; patients; and community based organizations. QVIC hosts a monthly forum on various topics, bringing in several of these stakeholders with expertise on the month’s given topic. The August 2020 forum was on the topic of Health Technology Innovations, and KC Digital Drive was invited to take part, along with representatives from the KU Medical Center; UMKC; ITWorks, Cerner Corporation; Blue KC; and KC CARE Health Center.
John Fitzpatrick, consultant and Community Health Strategist with KC Digital Drive’s Health Innovation Team, provided insight into the organization’s community perspective on healthcare technology innovation. KC Digital Drive’s mission is to make Kansas City a digital leader. The organization’s commitment to meaningful use cases and equity and inclusion are particularly relevant to the organization’s recent work on the region’s COVID-19 response.
The Kansas City region is home to a very innovative healthcare ecosystem, given companies like Cerner and the four medical schools and several nursing programs that serve the region, for example. KC Digital Drive’s role is often identifying how the innovations coming from so many directions can be best applied in certain circumstances for the most equitable and efficacious outcomes.
For example, while working with local governments and nonprofits on organizing COVID-19 response, the KC Digital Drive team quickly realized that tracking and contact tracing measures would require community-wide trust in order to be effectively implemented. KC Digital Drive’s Solutions Lab, with a heavy focus on community building, works to identify and make actionable solutions to these kinds of challenges.
The goal of the Solutions Lab is to develop tech solutions for difficult public problems. The Lab does this by extending the capacity of public sector organizations and others serving the public good. Solutions Lab brings together those with expertise in a given problem and in emerging tech related to the problem. Importantly, action after planning is emphasized. Collaboration comes in the form of design workshops, reverse pitches, hackathons and more, with delivered outcomes such as pilot projects, civic tech software and applications, nonprofit project grants, research and reporting, startup funding and even new businesses.
Within and outside of Solutions Lab, KC Digital drive brings together experts and other stakeholders involved from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, and there is an explicit emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the organization’s Community Building work. There is significant effort put toward deeply understanding the context surrounding a given problem and its potential solutions. It is important to understand social determinants of health, for example, when seeking solutions to a given medical problem. An example of this context-driven community involvement is seen in KC Digital Drive’s role in the Comeback KC public-private partnership The project seeks to promote best practices in the community regarding testing, tracing and prevention. To plan how to promote these practices, the team brought in neighborhood organizations and community leaders from various areas to be part of the discussion.
Another example of KC Digital Drive’s community-based, collaborative work is the Health Innovation Team, a monthly convening of thought leaders in healthcare innovation in the Kansas City region. This collaborative has been the source of new networks and partnerships with delivered projects. These connections put KC Digital Drive in a prime position to bring the right people together in the right context for a given problem.
KC Digital Drive’s original purpose of guiding results for the broader metro area based on new and emerging technology in light of Google Fiber’s introduction to the city has expanded and involved. While continuing its focus on making Kansas City a digital leader, the organization brings together stakeholders that can sufficiently contextualize a given problem and its solution. You can find recordings of this presentation and other past QVIC forums here.