Brigham and Women’s names new chief innovation officer

(Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder)
(Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Brigham and Women’s Hospital announced on Friday that David Bates, a long-time administrative and medical staffer at the medical center, will take on the role of chief innovation officer. 

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(Photo: Brigham and Women’s Hospital)

Among his new responsibilities, Bates will chair the Innovation Hub, the medical center’s sandbox where Brigham staffers can brainstorm with engineers and designers in the Greater Boston area. The Hub hosts an annual hackathon, and plays host to events like the Women’s Mental Health Codethon, a uniquely health-focused hack day held in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

As in the past, he hopes to use the Hub to connect startups looking for clinical partners with medical professionals at the hospital.

In house, Bates is looking forward to firing up some “experimental” frameworks within the medical center. For example, he hopes to tackle ebbs and flows in staffing by tapping into the predictive power of data analytics. “We think we can staff more effectively if we can predict the need over time,” he said.

Another program is a real-time tracker of people and equipment, a system that could help locate and track the movement of staff to streamline the way the hospital allocates time.

Bates also hopes to grow an existing program that helps patients stay in better communication with their doctors about the progress of their condition. For example, a post-surgery, a patient with a knee condition would stay in regular touch with their doctor about “how the knee is really doing.”

Boston hospitals hit the news last year when they deployed programs that included Google Glass in surgery teaching and in the emergency room. “We are investigating an array of gadgets,” Bates said.

Bates recently chaired a committee to make recommendations to government regulators, including the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, about ways to control the quality of the various medical technologies becoming available to doctors and patients. Among the recommendations were ways to regulate apps for smart devices.

Bates’s news duties will add to his existing responsibilities as chief of the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care and professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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