Innovation is not merely a synonym for brainstorming, but should instead describe the process of developing actual life-changing solutions, according to James Madara, MD, CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association.

During a recent program updating AMA employees and partners on the work of Health2047, the organization’s Silicon Valley-based innovation arm, Dr. Madara explained the AMA’s innovation philosophy.

“Think of innovation as a new idea that’s helpful brought to market,” he said, per a recap of the program from the AMA. “It’s not theory. It’s something that can be applied and can change lives.”

Among Health2047’s ongoing projects is an initiative to improve interoperability and the exchange of data. “The problem with healthcare data is it’s sort of like your grandmother’s attic. It’s got all this stuff up there; nobody really knows what’s up there, and it’s not organized. … That data should be assisting us in how we do healthcare,” Health2047 CEO Larry Cohen, PhD, said at the program.

As such, Dr. Madara quipped that success for Health2047 and the AMA’s innovation efforts would be like “cleaning Grandma’s attic.”

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