Fueling Healthcare AI with Adaptive Collaboration

Dr. Ram Naidu, Ph.D. MBA, Executive Director of Engineering at MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science
Dr. Ram Naidu, Ph.D. MBA, Executive Director of Engineering at MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science

Dr. Ram Naidu, Ph.D. MBA, Executive Director of Engineering at MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the verge of transforming healthcare. At the MGH and BWH Center for Clinical Data Science, we are at the forefront of this technology revolution as we enable machines to learn from and make predictions from data using sophisticated computational algorithms. Our product-focused team is busy defining and building the platforms and tools required to rapidly integrate models into the clinical setting, to bring the power of AI to the physician’s fingertips. Our ability to execute on these disruptive, user-centric, value-creating initiatives is enabled by our unique position within the Partners Healthcare Ecosystem with our access to a wealth of data, clinical expertise, computing power and talent to make this vision a reality.

  The ability to learn is facilitated by adaptation and collaboration, which are built on the fundamental elements of celebrating thought diversity and trust​  

Such an environment creates a plethora of perspectives, knowledge, and expertise. Our world-class team of machine learning scientists, data engineers, software engineers, innovation fellows, and clinical leaders is deeply committed to shaping the future of medicine. As we bring the best minds of the tech industry, research and healthcare together, our ability to leverage this talent is underpinned by the necessity to work rapidly in tight collaboration within the center, while paying close attention to complex signals within the bigger ecosystem of industry partners, academic medical centers, research labs and professional societies.

In such an environment, it is no longer possible for organizations to sustain a competitive advantage by being good at one particular thing. Instead, organizations need to embrace change and excel at learning how to do new things with rapid experimentation and execution. This is effectively what AI is all about. So how do we go about enabling a team learning environment for rapid innovation when our personal experiences often tend to bias our alignment and incentives with self-promotion, self-protection, and control?

Check out: Top Artificial Intelligence Solution Companies

Working in teams sounds extraordinarily natural and so humanly intuitive, but there are some unique ingredients that create a recipe for successful innovation. My personal experience leading and facilitating small and large teams in Product Management, Programs, Engineering, and R&D has repeatedly proven that truly high-performing teams share unique qualities: They are open-minded and learn continuously, which in turn helps them adapt and innovate.

The ability to learn is facilitated by adaptation and collaboration, which are built on the fundamental elements of celebrating thought diversity and trust. Team relationships are cemented by the ability to have direct, open communication at all levels of the organization, which allows transparency that forges trust. To facilitate learning, it is essential that colleagues feel safe and comfortable sharing honest, varied opinions about problems, issues, and solutions. This information sharing, coupled with active listening allows the team to adaptively innovate as they face hurdles and roadblocks in product development and deployment. When everyone collaborates, from the leaders of the organization to the individual associates, it is possible to arrive at and execute on, unique business solutions with surprising velocity.

In a world of rapid change and idea generation, innovation and disruption are happening faster than ever before. It is therefore critical for organizational leadership to create risk-free environments that facilitate openness and safety so team members can bond, collaborate, and contribute towards a shared identity that aligns their work with a compelling mission. Such teams, and organizations that embrace adaptable collaboration will come out ahead of the game.

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