JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Health Innovation Conference took place on Tuesday, August 16, on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC).

“The idea behind this conference was to accumulate new innovative ideas that could generate potentially new products or concepts that will improve the quality of care of patients here in the state of Mississippi. It’s an initiative of the Ole Miss Business School in collaboration with a number of health care providers and individuals from the community in order to generate these new ideas through collaboration,” explained Dr. Kellie Leitch, Chief of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery at the Children’s Hospital and professor at the University of Mississippi School of Business.

The goal is to improve the health and healthcare of the citizens in the state, region and country.

“We are gathering with people who came from different blocks of life. Their perspectives and dynamics on how to create accessible health care were very different, and we walked away with having some new approaches. This is our first time, however, our goal is to do this annually. One of the great things about this initiative, I believe, is that it’s a win-win. We have an opportunity to improve patient care but also have an opportunity to contribute to the economy in Mississippi. Some of the ideas in this conference may generate an idea for a new product, a new process, or a new app that can be commercialized,” said Leitch.

Mississippi Representative Jill Ford opened the conference with a discussion on the Political Environment – Business of Medicine in Mississippi.

Changing the education system and getting young Mississippians involved early was a topic of discussion. Hospitals are currently under a deficit for employees with training, and they would need people well trained to provide these services for patients.

“What we’re doing is we have a number of medical students that participated. They are going to generate some white papers to publish, so that these ideas could be considered by policymakers of the legislature and also by leadership in different hospitals for implementation. We need to also make sure people are aware that just eating well, having good nutrition, being active, and exercising those things are just as important, if not more important than gaining access to health care once you have developed diabetes or a heart condition. I think that there are a number of opportunities in the future. We just have to decide what we’re going to target and go after fixing each of those problems one at a time,” said Leitch.

A new app for patients was also discussed. The app would allow patients to navigate and receive care within the hospital. Patients could download the app and personalize it. When a patient comes in, they would have a set of options available in an effort to try to make their hospital visits more efficient.