Special Advisor, National Academy of Medicine

Laura Adams

At a glance:

Laura Adams is Special Advisor at the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), where she provides leadership for the Digital Health and Evidence Mobilization portfolios of the Leadership Consortium. She has expertise in digital health, health care innovation, and human-centered care. As Catalyst at X4 Health, Laura leads the national strategic partnerships for the 3rd Conversation (3C) project (https://www.3rdconversation.org/), helping to reweave humanity into the fabric of healthcare and healing. She serves on the Board of Translational Medicine Accelerator (TMA), a Boston-based precision medicine company focusing on patients with recalcitrant and rare diseases. She leads TMA’s initiative in Barcelona, Spain.

Laura was the founding President and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), RI’s statewide Health Information Exchange. During her time at RIQI, Health Data Management named her one of their 2018 Most Powerful Women in Health IT in the Thought Leader category and Becker’s Hospital Review named her to the 2018 inaugural list of Female Health IT Leaders to Know and to its 2019 list of Women in Health IT to Know. Laura currently serves on the Oversight Council for the MA Center for Health Information and Analysis. She chaired the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Planning Committee for the “Digital Infrastructure for Population Health and a Learning Healthcare System” initiative. Through her Laura Adams Consulting company, she has delivered conference keynotes in nearly every state in the union and in 13 different countries.

Laura was Founder, President and CEO of Decision Support Systems, a New York-based company specializing in Internet- based healthcare decision support. She has been a long-time faculty member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Boston. She directed the IHI Idealized Design of the Intensive Care Unit project and served as faculty in the VHA’s ICU improvement collaborative and was the Principal Investigator on the RI Statewide ICU Collaborative. She was among the first to bring the principles of healthcare QI to the Middle East, in conjunction with Donald Berwick, MD and the Harvard Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East. She served as IHI faculty at the inaugural IHI Middle East Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare in Doha, Qatar.

Under her leadership, RIQI won the National Council for Community Behavioral Health Excellence Award for Impact in serving those with behavioral health and substance abuse challenges. She received citations from the RI Congressional delegation for her visionary leadership and contributions to improving the healthcare system in Rhode Island. Laura received University of Northern Colorado’s Distinguished Alumni award and her company was a multi-year winner of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce’s Exemplary award for Worksite Wellness. RIQI was named RI’s Most Innovative Company in Healthcare in 2015; was named 2017 Employer of Choice by the Employer’s Association of New England; and was a multi-year winner of RI’s Best Places to Work award from the Providence Business News. RIQI won the 2017 Innovation Award in Healthcare in Rhode Island, a national 2018 Healthcare Informatics Innovation Award for impact on the opioid crisis and was named a finalist for the 2018 New England Business Innovation award, again for impact on the opioid crisis.

  • Digital Health and Innovation

    The recent and exponential advances in Digital Health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are coming at us at an astonishing rate, forever changing healthcare as we know it. The future is bringing unprecedented innovation and is laying the groundwork for more effective person-centered care and more rapid research discoveries than we ever dreamed possible. However, as with all cataclysmic change, Digital Health has brought hope, but also hype, and in some cases, harm. To harness the best of Digital Health and minimize the risks in the “new normal”, healthcare organizations and clinicians must understand the Digital Health and innovation landscape and how to navigate it. No discussion of Digital Health would be complete without addressing issues of patient privacy and agency over their healthcare data. Optimizing the power of Digital Health requires balancing the rights of individuals and the tremendous opportunity for public good that comes from data aggregation.

    This session will explore the impact of such innovations as “the digitized patient”, interoperability, big data and analytics, as well as artificial intelligence/machine learning catalyzed by the crisis. It will also call out some causes for concern that warrant a pause along the path to avoid hardwiring harm into the future.

    Participants will be able to:
    -Describe major digital health and innovation trends in the COVID- 10 era and the potential for positive impact on patients/families, clinicians, healthcare organizations and communities
    -Identify digital health’s unintended consequences and situations where hype is outpacing reality
    -Leave the session equipped with a greater capacity to maximize the power and minimize the peril of digital health for personal, organizational, and community-wide benefit
  • Resiliency; Burnout; Connection to Purpose

    The social fabric of healthcare was irreparably torn in the wake of COVID-19. It’s impeding our ability to realize the promise of the Quadruple Aim of better health, better patient experiences, lower cost, and joy in work. Many in healthcare are feeling disconnected and isolated amid the cataclysmic changes that healthcare is undergoing. These dizzying forces—such as the aftermath of the pandemic, market disruption by non-healthcare giants, the rapid movement into the digital world, and the relentless focus on measurement—has us questioning all we thought we knew as healthcare professionals and could rely on. This session restores a deep connection to purpose and imparts practical, everyday tools to help providers find meaning in their work, connect more deeply with patients, build personal resiliency, and ultimately achieve better clinical outcomes. Through creating connection at a human, heart level, we can rebuild authentic connections to our patients and to each other, and maybe most importantly, to ourselves, so that we’re fully capable of caring for others. Creating this tapestry borne out of human connection and forged by crisis heals more deeply and completely than we thought possible.

    Participants will be able to:
    -Identify major forces putting providers at risk for demoralization, stress, and loss of the sense of purpose, including the effects of the COVID-19 experience
    -Describe the effect of human connection—and lack thereof—in clinicians’ personal and professional lives
    -Employ innovative, practical, and effective approaches that contribute to restoring a sense of connection, purpose and vitality to those providing care
  • Relationship-centered Care

    Healthcare professionals are challenged to chart a path forward that focuses on optimization of health rather than just treatment of disease, particularly in the new reality created by the COVID-19 pandemic. To assure an organization’s ongoing clinical and financial success, rethinking our relationship with patients is imperative, as there is no going back to business as usual. Our oft-stated goal of “engaging the patient” exposes a core belief that we still see ourselves at the center of the healthcare system—that patients should engage with us. This carries great risk in the era of value-based payment models and prevents us from providing the clinically effective and holistically human care to which we all aspire. The key is to engage more deeply in the lives of our patients. This involves more than just what goes on within the walls of the hospital or physician office. The best results are coming from activated communities where information flows from many sources and healthcare meets patients where they are. “Come and get it care” is most certainly a thing of the past and patient-driven design and delivery is becoming the essential business strategy in healthcare organizations of all sizes and types. When the patient experience guides design, we can create a health care system worthy of those who depend on it literally for their lives.

    Participants will be able to:
    1. Discuss the importance of engaging in the lives of patients in the COVID-19 era and how this differs from the traditional approach of engaging patients in the delivery system.

    2. Discuss the implications of adopting a commitment to community-wide collaboration and assuring that data follows the patient.

    3. Describe the relationship between patient stories and “connecting the dots” for emergence of better, more creative designs of care delivery.
  • Quality Improvement

    Healthcare organizations that are rebuilding in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the era of value-based payments, digital health, and relationship-based care are agile, adaptive, and capable of organization-wide continuous improvement. These “Learning Health Systems” lever the knowledge gained from every patient to make care better for all those that follow. If COVID-19 taught us anything, it was that organizations must become capable of rapid learning and rapid application of new knowledge. This presentation covers the foundational principles of continuous quality improvement (CQI); understanding work as process; the concept of and methods behind Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) and other models to accomplish rapid cycle improvements; identifying and acting on special and common cause variation; the role of reliability science and human factors in driving healthcare improvement; approaches to putting patients on improvement teams; the role of CQI in effective development of care standardization, best practices, and practice guidelines; and the power of CQI to help reweave human connection and restore meaning in healthcare.

    Participants will be able to:
    -Articulate the power of quality improvement as not only a core business strategy in the era of COVID-19, but as an approach to deepening the sense of meaning in healthcare
    -Describe the practical use of the rapid-cycle (Plan-Do-Study-Act) scientific method for continuous quality improvement, including minimizing the burden of data collection
    -Apply the theory and tools in their daily work to drive patient safety, clinical quality improvement, and operational efficiency, and to reconnect to purpose

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