Innovator Spotlight – Sharief Taraman

Sharief Taraman, MD, DABPN, DABPM, FAAP​​​​​​​ Sharief Taraman MD, DABPN, DABPM, FAAP

How has your background in informatics and innovation impacted your day-to-day interactions with patients in the Neurology clinic?

Having a background in informatics and innovation makes it so that you’re always looking at ways to improve things within healthcare. Healthcare is complicated, and there are all kinds of barriers to care that we have to deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes when you get into the grind of the thing it can be really hard to affect change. I am a huge proponent of having some dedicated time to step away from the day-to-day, so that you can spend time on things that could have an even larger impact. We see this in the tech industry, where employees are given 20% true dedicated time to be creative and explore passions. I think we should try to find this at CHOC to be more innovative.

Do you have any tips for those who may want to innovate?

The best thing to do is contact us at CHOC Mi4. Here’s the thing—there’s so many opportunities to innovate at CHOC, just let us know you want to innovate. We have interns who come here every summer, so if you have an idea and want to access young minds please reach out and we can help you become a mentor.

Do you think that clinicians and associates at CHOC are at an advantage to innovate in a special way?

Absolutely. Children have a natural tendency for innovation-so my advice is to listen to your patients. When they ask, “Dr. Taraman, Why do we do it this way?” I try to listen. We should incorporate the patient and/or the parent when identifying problems. When they say “I’m frustrated” we should listen. Same goes for nurses, technicians, etc. There are no better people for innovation—usually the people closest to the problem are the ones best able to identify it. They may not have the answer, but they know where to start. I always say that if you don’t have your sails up, you won’t catch it. In other words, if you’re not present you will miss that opportunity for innovation.