Story | Research
15 January 2019

These hospital employees are improving the lives of patients, but they’re not doctors.

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Through the ‘Imagine' initiative, every employee at Sidra Medicine is invited to submit ideas and suggestions that can lead to efficiencies in work processes and patient-care services.

Not too long ago, the privilege of proposing an idea to improve operations at a health organization was reserved for two groups of people: those who controlled the money in a healthcare enterprise, and those who could write the grants necessary to access it. Things don’t look that different today.

One doctor at Sidra Medicine—Qatar Foundation’s people-focused healthcare organization for women, children, and young people—wants to create that difference.

Speaking about the elite monopolizing the process of idea generation at healthcare facilities worldwide, Dr Deepak Kaura notes: “I think there’s so much unexplored by this status quo. Everyone has ideas and we want to see those ideas come to life.”

The answer? ‘Imagine.’

That is not a dismissive request to find a more democratic system in the recesses of one’s imagination. It is the name of Dr Kaura’s solution to the dilemma. “There is simply nothing like ‘Imagine’ in operation at any healthcare organization in the world outside of Sidra Medicine. It is a framework that uses the concept of crowd-sourcing to inspire innovative thinking and draw out ideas to improve processes, reduce human error, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.”

We believe that ideas can come from anyone, whether they are a nurse, personal assistant or CEO, and we want to see those ideas come to life.

But what does that mean exactly? There is a short and long answer.

The short answer is that ‘Imagine’ is essentially a method that encourages innovation from within a healthcare organization by ensuring that employees have an opportunity to contribute ideas in an open, constructive, and transparent process.

Or as Dr Kaura bluntly puts it: “We believe that ideas can come from anyone, whether they are a nurse, personal assistant or CEO, and we want to see those ideas come to life.”

To this end, ‘Imagine’ has already given life to seven solutions currently in use or ready to launch. For example, the ‘Saffara’ notifications-based app, available within Sidra’s outpatient pharmacies, has improved the customer experience and driven down wait times, while saving the hospital significant costs of procuring a 3rd-party system.

The long answer is that ‘Imagine’ points to a larger trend taking over Qatari society, one that places a nation’s potential to innovate and evolve in the creative intelligence of its workforce. “It was in April 2013 that I came to Sidra Medicine, inspired by Qatar National Vision 2030, with the goal of transitioning the nation to one based on ingenuity rather than natural resources,” said Dr Kaura.

“I came here to try to create an atmosphere and an environment for 'Imagine' to happen, and I quickly realized that I had arrived at the right place.”

The “right place” because the country’s national vision has furnished the space for innovations like 'Imagine' to flourish, facilitating the emergence of a business culture that places emphasis on the creative potential of its human capital. “I’ve worked in and visited a lot of healthcare institutions in my life, but what we have here at Sidra Medicine is completely unique.”

“Without the investment in education and research made by Qatar Foundation when creating Sidra Medicine, I know that this simply would not have been possible. Where else do you get a chance to do something like this, while at the same time treat children and impact the country in an incredibly positive way?”

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