GE’s American Competitiveness summit held in Washington, DC, opened its second day with a focus on innovation. GE Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock joined former FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach and Chris Coburn, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, to discuss investing in healthcare innovation. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the chief medical editor for NBC News, moderated the panel.
Comstock pointed to what she called “the great-mash up” in innovation. She said that “innovation in healthcare is about collaboration” and that partnership is driving progress. “The problems are too difficult for any one entity, even one as big as ours,” she said. “We still can’t do it alone.”
GE Chief Marketing Officer Beth Comstock discussed investing in healthcare innovation with former FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach and Chris Coburn, Cleveland Clinic executive director for innovations. The panel, which was part of GE’s American Competitiveness: What Works event held in Washington, DC, was moderated Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor at NBC News. (Right to left)”
Comstock said that GE works with business incubators, venture capitalists and experts in the industry to expand GE’s knowledge.
But she also stressed the need to “prioritize innovation” and define the problems that you are trying to solve. “You have to put the right filters in place,” Comstock said. “How do you start to incubate these opportunities?”
She stressed the importance of partnerships and pointed out successful projects such as GE’s healthymagination challenge and the company’s drive to reduce medical costs for employees in Cincinnati. “In Cincinnati we’ve partnered with four other employers, providers and insurers to get our employees focused on better health and lowering costs,” she said. GE placed monitors in people’s homes to better manage ailments such as diabetes, and connected them to their primary care physicians. “The technology exists today,” Comstock said. “It is really just coordinating the care in a very systematic approach, that’s one example where we are seeing some nice results.”
Former FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said that it was important for companies and regulators such as the FDA to also embrace “collaboration” and be “innovative in making judgments” about medical products and their risk “as we are innovative in terms of discovery and development in the first place.”
Comstock added that “in many companies regulations are a good thing. They set standards, high bars, and goals. Having a standard helps everybody innovate.” She said that “the most creative situations are when you’ve defined the problem you are trying to solve, you have limits and you have a framework. You are going to get some amazing things out of that.”