Entrepreneurial Engagement: Supporting health system engagement with entrepreneurs


Editor's Note: this blog stems from Cambia Grove's Solutions Lab work. This initiative was built upon the idea that the community has all the right ingredients to solve big health care challenges. 

Two Major Takeaways:

1) If entrepreneurs are connected to teams/roles within the health care system dedicated to working with startups & 2) clear pathways exist for external innovation to enhance health systems’ ability to deliver a more person-focused experience, innovation will flow more freely into the health care system.

Focusing on community needs

Cambia Grove’s core goal is to break down barriers to innovation by being a catalyst for change towards a more person-focused and economically sustainable health care system. We listen to the community through our Barriers to Innovation Roundtables to discover common themes preventing innovative efforts to transform the health care system. These dynamic discussions highlight firsthand exposure to the challenges changemakers face as they drive towards a better health care system. We’ve consistently heard that a lack of clarity around how the health care system engages with external entrepreneurs is a barrier to innovation; therefore, we selected this issue as a focus area for Cambia Grove’s Solutions Lab.

Understanding the current state

The Solutions Lab process begins with stakeholder interviews to help us better understand the topic and to identify areas where the community could foster engagement. For this topic we completed nationwide interviews with 40 stakeholders representing the traditional health care system and the entrepreneur community, including health system innovation leaders, entrepreneurs and investors. We took the community’s valuable feedback and distilled it down to common themes and potential community-powered initiatives.*  We have learned from our Solutions Lab experience with Data and Payments & Incentives that themes begin to emerge quickly - while diverse in location, size, and approach, stakeholders nationwide still face similar challenges and needs. While traditional health care organizations are often eager to innovate alongside entrepreneurs to support strategic priorities, both entrepreneurs and health care organizations experience roadblocks along the way.

Bridging the gap

Cambia Grove aims to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and the health care system, and this initiative identifies rich community-driven ways for us to better achieve this goal. Some opportunities would provide support for the health system through priority setting and knowledge sharing. Others focus on the entrepreneur community through education and exposure.  The most frequently suggested opportunities were those focusing on the bridge between the entrepreneurs and health care organizations by building trust and developing solutions to existing problems. In the upcoming months, we will identify the highest-impact opportunities and select projects to catalyze action to help create a more streamlined external entrepreneur engagement process. We encourage you to take a look at the working summary of our findings and invite you to share your guidance and feedback around how we can best enable innovation in health care. 

Please submit questions and comments to: Maura Little, Executive Director, Cambia Grove, maura@cambiagrove.com

*NOTE: All stakeholder interviews were conducted in confidence to enable candid discussion and open dialogue; feedback has been anonymized and summarized.

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