Cleveland Clinic CEO on Healthcare Innovation

toby-cosgrove-cleveland-clinic-city-clubjpg-5bbd95eb6c008c8d_large1Earlier this month, we posted an item about the new Healthcare Leadership Council initiative, the National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation (NDHI).  We’re going to be bringing together leaders from healthcare, academia and government, as well as the patient advocacy and consumer sectors, to work toward consensus on the key issues affecting the future of medical innovation in the United States.

In a speech before the Cleveland City Club, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove explained very convincingly why leaders in both the private and public sectors need to focus on innovation.  I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Cosgrove that advancing innovation was not given sufficient priority in the development of health reform legislation.

In his speech, Dr. Cosgrove said, “Right now, a new heart valve takes 10 years to go from concept to clinical. And it takes 10 years more to know if it’s better than the next heart valve. Now, if I was an investor or if I was a manufacturer, would I be interested in essentially putting my dollars down not knowing whether I’m going to get a return on those dollars for 20 years?”

He was referring to the comparative effectiveness research that is funded by the new health reform law.  You can expand that point, though, and say that whether we’re talking about comparative effectiveness, Medicare reimbursements, medical liability reform or the new independent payment advisory board that is also part of health reform, policymakers need to be vigilant in ensuring that innovation is not being stifled.

Cutting costs in the short term won’t make sense if it means inhibiting the new ideas that will strengthen both the quality and cost-effectiveness of American healthcare.