The Innovation Learning Network Carbon Green Room – putting the ME in AwesoME

Ted’s passion portfolio. Innovation Learning Network InPerson Meeting, Boston, MA, USA View on

Either the Innovation Learning Network (@healthcareILN) meetings have gotten so good or I have learned to leverage them extremely well. I think it’s the former rather the latter based on what happened on the last day.

After getting to go on innovation safaris that were customized to our interests (mine, social determinants of health, expressed through the food insecurity program at Boston University Medical Center), the last day we were given the opportunity to create a pitchable, potentially fundable plan based on our interests. Attendees were assembled at the front of the room and told to address all the other attendees with a general topic and a table number. Whoever went to that table, went to that table to work on it.

Usually I stay on the sidelines because I like to see and support others, but this time I decided to be totally selfish and announce my topic as “non-IT innovation” and then proceeded to list my current portfolio of passions. I figured if no one came to my table I could at least write my ILN blog post. But alas people came to my table, and so the “ILN Carbon Green Room” was born.

The ILN Carbon Green Room

I originally called it the ILN Carbon War Room (based on this organization in Washington, DC), but changed it after consultation to be something less militaristic. The idea, with my collaborators Paul Tarini (@PaulTarini) and Marilyn Chow (@InnovationChow) was to look at the overall carbon impact of the 32 organizations in the Innovation Learning Network and work to (a) reduce it and (b) tie it to the other innovations that are being created within them.

I took the handwritten pitch and game plan and made them easier to read. Click to enlarge.

Basically, there are still very few health care organizations that understand the connection between the way they operate and health. Kaiser Permanente is one that does (see Now Reading: Addressing Climate Change among Insurers, some are doing more than others | Ted Eytan, MD ), as is the National Health Service. That’s one issue. The second issue is understanding that it is a myth that environmental stewardship only reaps long term savings. Instead, it yields short term and long term savings, that are noticeable by our patients (don’t believe me? check out slides 27-28 of this presentation I gave at/to Emory University). Also, for the data, check out: Now Reading: Little things add up to $15 billion in environmental stewardship by hospitals | Ted Eytan, MD

As it says above, the work is to collect the carbon footprint of the Innovation Learning Network organizations and tie them to the Healthier Hospital Initiative (@HHIorg) which supports organizations in stepwise improvements. I have already been funded to go to CleanMed Europe (@CleanMedEurope), where I will go to study the best practices in environmental stewardship around the world, as well as shadow in sustainable medical practices and communities. And also find Paul a nice pair of socks somewhere – Marks and Spencer perhaps? The goal is to connect the work of the Innovation Learning Network to a sustainable health system and communities in which they operate. Sounds innovative to me.

So that’s the pitch. The ME part of AwesoME is that even though my pitch wasn’t funded, I’m going to do it anyway, of course. And I think so is everyone else for their pitches. Everyone wins, even ultimately, when Paul and Marilyn snuck an IT-type innovation onto my table 🙂

Here’s the scene from the day, with lots of oversampling of my table. Having a passion portfolio means that you’re passionate about the things in it.

Ted Eytan, MD