CIMIT, Induct Software Roll Out New Collaboration Platform for Healthcare

8/22/12Follow @gthuang

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as well as communicate, collaborate, and gather ideas outside their walls—from patients, vendors, and other institutions. The Web interface includes features like dashboards, user-generated documents, and Facebook-like discussion threads.

As a journalist, I’m partial to broad, sweeping analogies and labels. So is CoLab the “Facebook (or Yammer) for healthcare”?

John Collins, CIMIT’s chief operating officer, humored me but resisted the temptation to crush my question. “It’s a collaboration process engine,” he says. Pieces of the technology exist separately now, he explains—customer relationship management, document management, ways to track ideas and grant proposals, and so on—but CoLab does it all under one roof. In any case, CIMIT’s main focus is on research, not software development, he says.

That said, CIMIT has been testing CoLab internally and with partners across the U.S., Europe, and Asia for the past year. And the consortium plans to begin selling CoLab to other institutions in the coming year or so. “We’re hoping to build the network of people using it over time,” says Collins.

On the software front, I talked a bit with Burns, the Induct CEO. Healthcare is just one of many industries his 40-person company (he’s the only one in Boston) is going after, but CIMIT is one of its biggest customers. What Induct brings to the table is Web-based software to “really manage innovation,” Burns says. That means things like soliciting ideas, ranking them, getting peer feedback, and, crucially, following the whole implementation process through—keeping track of who’s responsible for next steps, what information they need, how they should get that information, and so forth. “Most companies fail in implementation,” he says.

It sounds like CIMIT and healthcare institutions have their work cut out for them. But perhaps managing innovation in the right way is the key to making the whole industry run more smoothly.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at Follow @gthuang

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