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Fuse’s innovation process, adaptive nature on display at Cardinal Health RBC 2016


As expectations from regulators, patients and payers change, community pharmacists are forced to be adaptive. Rolling with the changes can be difficult to do alone, but one division of Cardinal Health is working to adapt to customer needs as they are trying to navigate the changing healthcare landscape.

At Cardinal Health RBC 2016, the innovation lab Fuse — which opened in 2014 near the company’s Dublin, Ohio, main campus — was showing attendees how it operates, how it responds to customers’ needs and how it is looking to disrupt the healthcare landscape.

On the tradeshow floor, Fuse’s aptly named Innovation Taking Flight display was inspired by some of the earliest disruptors — the Wright brothers, who brought a game-changing steering process to aviation to build the first successful aircraft and change the transportation industry forever. One section served as a showroom for some of Fuse’s innovations, allowing attendees to offer feedback on some of the solutions  still in development. In another section of the Fuse display, the Scout team, who focuses on innovation, was creating a prototype of a solution that helps pharmacists integrate clinical services into their workflow.

The prototype build began before the show with a customer survey asking what pharmacists’ biggest pain points are, with clinical services integration coming up most frequently. Over the course of the show, attendees helped narrow down what they were looking for in a solution. By the final day of RBC 2016, Marty Vian, Fuse user experience leader, and his team had built Nomi. The prototype’s name is a play on words, as it would help pharmacists identify their patients using facial recognition software that would also identify potential clinical interventions for which the patient is eligible.

“The main area that Fuse focuses on in innovation is working with the customer — understanding their problems and what works best for them,” Fuse communications business partner Jessie Slater told Drug Store News at Cardinal Health RBC 2016. “We're not developing things that work best for Cardinal Health or for Fuse — it's what works best for our customers. We involve them in every part of the process.”

One of the best-known innovations to emerge from Fuse is Cardinal Health MedSync Advantage. Vian told Drug Store News the platform — which helps community pharmacists identify patients who would benefit from medication synchronization, sync a patient’s medication and monitor adherence — was developed by the innovation lab in partnership the with Cardinal Health Retail Independent business, in response to an issue raised by a customer at a past Cardinal Health RBC, and it was done with constant consultation with customers.

“Instead of building the entire bike and then seeing if we can ride it, we start with a small piece of it,” Slater said. “So before we get too far along in the process, we get customer feedback and ask, ‘Up to this point is this working?’ Then how can we iterate on that, make it better and keep iterating until we get there?”

“We want to come out of this with a great idea and great insight on how well an idea will work, but it also highlights how we work," Vian said. "We're trying to demonstrate the speed at which we work and the involvement of the user, getting their feedback along the way as opposed to spending 18 months building a piece of software that nobody really wants.”

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