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Book Review: The Art of Healthcare Innovation

Christina Warner recently invited me to review her new book, The Art of Healthcare Innovation. Christina is a health care marketing strategist and a columnist for Arianna Huffington’s company Thrive Global. Her book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Essentially, it is a collection of 35 profiles of pioneers and innovators from diverse sectors of healthcare – everything from blockchain to telehealth to gene-editing. The flow of the book follows the steps in the patient journey and the innovators working in those areas: Awareness, Diagnosis, Treatment, Lifestyle Change, and Ongoing Care. For someone on the run, the short segments featuring each “game-changing pioneer” are very accessible. Overall, the book is a quick read and I found myself wanting to learn more about several of these innovators. As you might imagine, some of them captured my imagination with their stories and others did not. That’s to be expected.

As I read the book, I wondered about Christina’s motivation in writing the book and why she chose this format. So I asked her. Below are her answers:

Question: What made you decide on this format for the book? Why not more in-depth looks into a fewer number of innovators?

Answer: “A few years ago, I read the book This Will Make You Smarter by John Brockman. The books format covers a whole host of scientists, pioneers, and inventors, and gives a quick dip into a variety of topic. And I loved it! I loved getting a wide spectrum of unrelated ideas, and finding new connections between the different concepts. I wanted this for my readers, and for myself as well. How can we connect one or two or three ideas into a whole new invention? Can we combine AI algorithm, blockchain, and the germ zapping robot, into something else altogether? Or telehealth, 5G, and regenerative tissue? The opportunities are limitless.”

Question: How did you decide which innovators to feature in your book?

Answer: “In November, I started blogging for Authority Magazine and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global. My blog posts are interviews with leaders that I was curious about or wanted to learn more, and over time, I was able to interview more than 300+ inventors and scientists and entrepreneurs. For The Art of Healthcare Innovation, I chose the 35 innovators based on the following criteria: a) Is she or he working in healthcare innovation? b) Is the startup vetted? It’s hard to predict if the startup or product will be successful in the future, but I wanted to make sure that the companies are interesting and viable. c) Is the innovator vetted? d) Is the idea vetted? Does it make some sense? Is there a market demand? e) Where does the innovator fit within the patient journey model? I had a slot of 5 or 6 for each phase of the journey.”

Question: What was your overall goal in writing this book?

Answer: “My overall goal is to share my passion, awe, and love of healthcare innovations. There is so much happening in this field. Some inventions will fail, some will become successful and then phase out, and others will fundamentally change how healthcare is conducted, or who can live longer, or which diseases can be eradicated. The current environment can be stressful, scary, and overwhelming. But perhaps this book can give someone hope of a better future. Better medicine. Better treatment.”

In closing, I will add that this book left me wanting more. I think that is a good thing! I wanted to learn more about these innovators. What drives them? What inspires them?

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