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Innovation in Pediatric Healthcare: Why it Matters

Published on May 27, 2021

At Valley Children’s, we are firm believers that kids are not just “small adults.” They have specific healthcare needs that vary greatly from adults. However, the pace of innovation for pediatric patients hasn’t kept up with the broader marketplace, leaving opportunities for breakthrough ideas.

With this in mind, Valley Children’s recently hosted a pediatric innovation startup showcase in partnership with The Innovation Lab, a national, independent medical product incubator and healthcare services provider, and Medline, the nation’s largest privately held manufacturer and supplier of medical supplies. In 90 minutes, we heard pitches from 13 incredible startups that are making an impact in how pediatric healthcare is delivered, focusing on the youngest members of our society while helping to close the gap between innovation in pediatric healthcare and its adult counterpart.

From digital therapeutics for adolescent mental health, to the use of virtual reality to help educate parents on pediatric medical devices, to robotic companions for kids, each of these companies brought together creativity, care and technology, keeping kids at the center.

After an event like this, you can’t help but feel optimistic about the future of pediatric healthcare. You realize that “it takes a village” and this work cannot happen without collaboration. I am in awe of technology, its power and promise, and its ability to be so complex and yet so simple.

Setting aside the products and applications for a moment, it was impossible to listen to the presenters without complete admiration and appreciation for their abilities and ingenuity. In the words of Courtney Bott, Medline’s director of Innovation, “They are extraordinary problem spotters.” From software to improve care coordination to tools that “light the night” in darkened patient care areas, every one of the company founders/innovators is not satisfied in simply identifying a problem, but rather they are masters at solving it.

I’ve walked away with unspoken lessons of diligence and perseverance. There is a saying that goes: “It's not how many times you get knocked down that counts, it's how many times you get back up.” No doubt the presentations were the result of dozens of trials, failures, successes and more trials.

It is an important milestone for our organization to step into this innovative space and to join with The Innovation Institute and Medline in sponsoring this event. Our work to become one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals and now as one of a handful leading the way in innovation says so much about Valley Children’s and everyone who works here.

We have long ago left our beginnings as a small children’s hospital in the middle of Central California and are now recognized as one of the best hospitals in the country. Valley Children’s is a place where we not only treat incredibly complex cases, we also influence the pediatric marketplace with new products, technology and processes to improve the lives of the children and families we serve.

And all from that vision of five moms seven decades ago. We are well on our way to creating a culture where we can harness our human potential and innovate for a better tomorrow, all while keeping our patients at the center.

by Ratan Milevoj, Director, Innovation and Organizational Renewal, Valley Children’s Healthcare

Click here to watch a video recording of the event.


About George’s Idea Lab, Valley Children’s Innovation Program

George's Idea Lab logo

In October of 2019, Valley Children’s launched an innovation program, George’s Idea Lab, in partnership with The Innovation Institute, a national, independent medical product incubator and healthcare services provider, to spark innovation across the our network. The Institute’s Innovation Lab is staffed with scientists, doctors and commercialization experts who evaluate ideas, build prototypes, protect them, license them and then take them to market directly or through industry partners. Valley Children’s innovation program, known as George’s Idea Lab, encourages staff and physicians to bring their ideas forward for market exploration. Kids are the future and our charge is to support kids to be their best and there are no better minds in the country to tackle some of our most challenging problems than our own team at Valley Children’s.