Public Release: 

Penn Innovation Accelerator Program kick starts projects to improve health care delivery

Third round of grants awarded to projects selected from a record 85 applicants

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

PHILADELPHIA - Penn Medicine's Innovation Accelerator Program, now in its third year, has announced funding for eight new projects aimed at improving health care delivery and patient outcomes. The program, run by leaders in the Center for Health Care Innovation, has been redesigned to support a larger group of thought leaders from across departments and in roles across the University of Pennsylvania Health System in their efforts to develop, test, and implement new approaches to health care.

"The Accelerator Program offers Penn Medicine staff members a terrific opportunity to put their ideas into action," said David A. Asch, MD, MBA, executive director of the Center for Health Care Innovation. "It supports a culture of experimentation, where insights can promptly be turned into data. Quick, rapid learning about what is working, paired with ongoing adjustments and tweaking, ensure that the entrepreneurial mindset remains at the heart of our activities."

Formerly the Innovation Grant Program, in its first two years, the Center provided more than $500,000 in funding for projects ranging from improved antibiotic stewardship to IMPaCT, a leading, evidence based community health worker program for vulnerable populations. The program has now been reimagined to move away from a smaller number of projects receiving larger initial grants to enable more novel interventions with seed funding to kick start their idea.

Teams will work with mentors from the Center for Health Care Innovation over four months, applying high impact methods for refining and validating solutions to test and develop their concepts. In March, the program will culminate with a pitch session where teams will present their learnings for the opportunity to receive additional funding to take their ideas to scale.

The eight newly funded teams were selected from a record pool of more than 85 proposals.

  • Automated lab monitoring for patients on high risk medications

    Project lead: Carmela Vittorio, MD, vice chair of operations, Dermatology

    Goal: Develop and test an automated lab monitoring system for patients on high-risk medications to streamline care coordination, increase the number of labs completed on time to avoid patient safety events and improve patient outcomes.

  • Our Directives, increasing completion of and compliance with advance directives

    Project lead: David Casarett, MD, MA, director of Hospice and Palliative Care

    Goal: Dramatically increase the number of Penn Medicine patients with care preferences that are known and followed, with an online platform optimized for rapid testing of novel strategies to enable completion and sharing of an advance directive.

  • Implementing a teleretinal imaging program to increase screening of diabetic patients

    Project lead: Thomasine Gorry, MD, MGA, associate professor of Ophthalmology, co-chair of CPUP Clinical Operations: Quality Domain

    Goal: Increase the rate of diabetic patients receiving necessary preventative eye services by offering an alternative to "in person" examinations. Screenings can be accomplished without dilation and with minimal impact on specialists' time while identifying individuals who need specialist care.

  • Increasing compliance with perioperative instructions to decrease complications and improve outcomes

    Project lead: Stephanie Diem, RN, clinical data analyst

    Goal: Develop and test a platform to enable both patients and providers to follow the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol to decrease perioperative complications, readmission rates, and length of stay while improve the patient experience.

  • Reimagining preoperative evaluation processes to reduce cancellations and improve outcomes

    Project lead: Marc Royo, MD, clinical instructor, department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care

    Goal: Reduce surgical delays, cancellations, complications and length of stay by getting the patient and right interdisciplinary members of the care team engaged and informed earlier in the process.

  • Redesigning follow-up scheduling to reduce cancellations and improve patient experience

    Project lead: Rahul Banerjee, MD, resident physician, department of Internal Medicine

    Goal: Test new patient scheduling, engagement strategies and care coordination approaches to reduce no-shows and cancellations after patients are discharged from the hospital, improving both the patient experience and their health outcomes.

  • PEACE - optimizing care models for women with signs of miscarriage

    Project lead: Courtney Schreiber, MD, MPH, program director for the Penn Family Planning and Pregnancy Loss Center, Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Goal: Test a full-service, urgent-care care model for women with signs of miscarriage to reduce cost, free up OR capacity, reduce blood transfusions and improve patient experience. While there's evidence of measurable impact from similar models internationally, this novel approach would establish national leadership.

  • Managing superutilizers

    Project lead: Anna Doubeni, MD, MPH, associate professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health

    Goal: Develop and test methods to proactively identify superutilizer patients for new interventions to lower cost by reducing low value care and improving patient outcomes.

"These proposals demonstrate an inspiring range of new care models, practices and services with the potential to make a dramatic impact on value, outcomes and patients' experience," said Roy Rosin, MBA, chief innovation offer at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. "All of us at the Center wish we could formally support many more projects, as submissions from so many of our colleagues have tremendous merit, but we do our best to help even when a project hasn't been officially selected. For those that have been selected, we believe that the seed money, mentorship and support from our internal partners such as Penn Medicine's IS team will accelerate testing and validation so we can then continue investment in those models that show the most promise."

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $409 million awarded in the 2014 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2014, Penn Medicine provided $771 million to benefit our community.

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