in hospital administration, he was newly excited by several innovative programs in Hawaii’s health care. One was a new partnership between the medical school, which does not have a hospital, and the hospitals in the community. A second was the hospitals’ growing experience with clinical trials. He noted that Hawaii’s uniquely diverse population made it an ideal location for clinical trials, and that true local expertise in the medical care of Asian Pacific populations was likely to draw patients not only from Hawaii but also from throughout the Pacific Rim region.
He said that the Queen’s hospital was founded in 1859 by Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV and has been in its current location since July 1860. Today it is a tertiary care teaching hospital affiliated with the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawaii. The hospital admits over 22,000 inpatient cases a year and 350,000 outpatient visits. It employs about 3,500 people, including 1,100 physicians.
Today, he said, a focus of Queen’s is to build a strategic framework around innovation. This was not easy to do in a large hospital, he noted, because so much of its activity is driven by tradition and a broad array of regulatory requirements, but he was seeing exciting improvements. Some of these improvements were in process, such as using clinical protocols to standardize medical care. Others came from program development, such as wider application of minimally invasive surgery, including a robotics surgical program. A third area is research and development, he said, primarily in the area of clinical trials. He saw three primary areas of value in the clinical trials work: (1) It brings novel therapies to patients, (2) it feeds an innovation framework by supporting researchers developing new therapies, and (3) it brings opportunities for commercialization of new drugs, devices, and applications.
Mr. Ushijima described three successful clinical trial initiatives that have been developed.
Three Successful Initiatives
Queen’s Center for Biomedical Research
This center, he said, is an outgrowth of recruiting Reinhold Penner, M.D., Ph.D., from the Max Planck Institute in Germany 13 years ago. Dr. Penner’s wife and professional collaborator, Andrea Fleig, Ph.D., earned her doctorate at the UH and wanted to return, and Queen’s worked with the university to recruit them. It built a laboratory and provided seed capital for his research program, while simultaneously strengthening the laboratory capacity on campus for him and for other researchers. It also increased the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indirect funding rate from 19 percent to about 75 percent today, developing a new funding model by sequestering indirect funds to support the investigators for special equipment and for times when they were needed. The funds were not used for operations, but to seed and support research.