Greater Washington Innovation AwardsTM Finalist Q&A

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Inova
Health & Life Sciences Innovator of the Year Finalist
Franziska Moeckel, Assistant Vice President, Personalized Health

In your opinion, what makes a company innovative?
The most innovative companies I have followed make failure part of their DNA. They take calculated risk, are not afraid of change, exponentially expand on their successes, and learn from their mistakes continuously. Innovation can only be fostered in an environment where change is accepted as a constant and failure is seen as a necessary step to become successful. While changes and failures must do not always have to be drastic they set the foundation for innovation.
 
What makes your company innovative?
Healthcare is a highly regulated business. It is at the very core of a healthcare organization to be risk adverse and to weigh changes to procedures and processes carefully, in order to provide the highest quality in patient care. There is no room for error, as the lives of patients are put into the hands of our care teams.

At Inova, we take a personalized approach to healthcare. We weigh advancements in science and technology thoroughly and implement them in a meaningful and safe way so that patients can benefit directly from breakthroughs that can enhance their health and well-being. We often refer to bench-to-bedside care improvements that allow for new discoveries, for instance, in a laboratory to find direct and immediate application to patient care in our hospitals.

MediMap® is a great example of how Inova implemented an innovative genetic test incrementally into an entire system. MediMap is a pharmacogenomic test, in short “PGx,” that combines pharmacology – the science of medications, with genomics – the study of genes. The test was first launched for newborns through a pilot allowing for real-time process improvement and monitoring of care impacts. Once the concept was tested and workflows were refined, the application of MediMap testing grew from newborns to many patient care settings spanning from mental health over cardiology and oncology to concierge medicine and more.

It is that ability to adapt to change and implement innovations in science and technology in a highly regulated industry that makes Inova stand out.

What or who are some innovative companies or people that inspire you and your team?
My team and I monitor companies in the precision medicine field very closely – especially those that are focused on direct to consumer or consumer directed testing. Companies like Veritas Genetics, 23andMe, Color Genomics, and uBiome are just a couple of examples of industry leaders and partners. In addition, other health systems like NorthShore, Intermountain Healthcare, and the Mayo Clinic have provided additional examples of how precision medicine applications have been implemented in direct patient care.
 
What are some publications, print or digital, you read daily or have read that help you stay on top of your game? 
In the field of personalized health and genomics, a lot of our industry business information comes from sources, such as the GenomeWeb’s Sequencing Bulletin, the Journal of Precision Medicine, and the Personalized Medicine Coalition newsletters. These are my daily “go-to-s” for the latest news and stories on test advancements, reimbursement issues, policy changes, patient stories, and company advancements. In recent years, the Washington Post, Washington Business Journal, Scientific American, and New York Times have also covered advancements in genomics specifically from the perspective of the patient. Case studies of other health systems are also great sources for implementation guidelines, processes, and workflows. In addition, we always keep a pulse on scientific papers and peer reviewed articles that cover advancements in life sciences pertinent to our test offerings.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming leaders striving to be innovative in today’s business environment?
The advice I would give to myself five some years ago would have been to be patient, intentional, and focused in order to drive change. To be a disrupter and innovator in healthcare means to have awareness and endurance. Awareness to be able to adapt to a multi-stakeholder environment that is highly regulated; and endurance to foresee opportunities and make incremental changes that will, eventually, lead to large scale impact. Both require you to be patient, intentional, and focused. Building meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with your stakeholders is also a must.