Penn Medicine


Innovation Accelerator Program

About the program

The Innovation Accelerator Program is designed to support faculty and staff from across Penn Medicine in their efforts to develop, test, and implement new approaches to improve health care delivery and patient outcomes.  Over six months, teams learn high impact innovation methods for refining and rapidly validating solutions, and work closely with mentors from the Center for Health Care Innovation to test and develop their concepts.  At the end of each cycle, the program culminates with a pitch event, where teams present their progress for the opportunity to receive additional investment to take their ideas to scale.

Learn more about our current class of projects and past winners below.

2016 class | 2015 class | 2014 class | 2013 class

Who should apply?

We seek applicants from the Penn Medicine and University of Pennsylvania community who believe their ideas can make a meaningful impact in one or more of the following areas: improving patient experience and health outcomes, using connected health approaches to improve care, reducing the cost of care while maintaining and improving patient outcomes.

What do teams receive?

  • Mentorship: Teams are matched with an Innovation Advisor and receive training to apply high impact innovation methods
  • Funding:  Teams have access to up to $10,000 to test and develop their concepts in phase one
  • Recognition and additional support: At the end of each cycle, teams present their work for the opportunity to receive additional investment to take their ideas to scale

Featured news

2016 class 

The 2016 Innovation Accelerator class is co-sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, supporting their priority of enabling high value care delivery models.

Reducing readmissions in cirrhotic and post liver transplant patients 

This project aims to reduce the rate of readmissions in cirrhotic and post liver transplant patients using telehealth monitoring. The team has developed a wireless mobile device monitoring system using a tablet provided to patients to detect early signs and symptoms. In a yearlong pilot of 21 patients, the system reduced readmission rates from 28 percent to 5.2 percent.  In the next phase of work, the team plans to refine the intervention and expand the pilot to all patients. 

Team: Vandana Khungar, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology; Colleen Cook, BSN, RN, Clinical Director of Abdominal Transplant; Ann Huffenberger, DBA, RN, Director of Operations of the Penn E-lert Telemedicine Program 

Improving nutrition monitoring for critically ill patients                                                

Critically ill, brain-injured patients are especially vulnerable to malnutrition. Enteral nutrition (EN) is a liquid formulation of nutrients delivered to the GI tract through a tube. Early EN has been shown to decrease infections, shorten length of stay, promote faster cognitive recovery, and reduce mortality. However, these benefits are only realized if patients receive more than 80 percent of energy expenditure, which is not consistently observed in current practice.  As a foundational starting point, this project seeks to explore how an automated calculation of caloric and protein goals and intake will impact provider awareness of nutrition needs and patient outcomes. The team will then design interventions based on such information to ensure patients receive required nutrition.

Team: David Do, MD, Neurology Resident ; John Chandler, MD, Neurocritical Care Physician; Joshua Vanderwerf, MD, Neurology Resident; Jennifer McKenna, CNSS, Clinical Dietitian Specialist; Bethany Young, RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist; Susan Kennedy, CNSS, Clinical Dietitian Specialist; Kai Holder, Research Assistant

Increasing the identification and monitoring of OPAT patients to improve outcomes    

Close laboratory monitoring and ambulatory follow-up care are essential for outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy (OPAT) patients. OPAT occurs in different settings, including the home, long-term-care facilities, and infusion centers. Due to the diversity of OPAT locations and the higher acuity of this population, readmission rates and complications are high. Publications show a 35 percent readmission rate for OPAT patients. This project aims to explore ways to improve how we identify and monitor OPAT patients – along with changes ensuring the right actions are taken on behalf of patients – to enhance provider efficiency, improve care delivery and reduce readmissions.

Team: Keith Hamilton, MD, Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship, department of Medicine, division of Infectious Diseases; Naasha Talati,MD, MSCR, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases; Judith O’Donnell, MD, Section Chief and Medical Director of Infectious Diseases Outpatient Practice; Daniel Timko, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program; Steven Morgan, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program; Shawn Binkley, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist, Antimicrobial Stewardship Program; Amanda Binkley, PharmD, AAHIVP, Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacy; Christo Cimino, PharmD, BCPS, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Infectious Diseases

Reducing functional decline and loss of mobility for hospitalized patients

Functional decline and loss of mobility for hospitalized patients, particularly in older patients and patients requiring intensive care, leads to increases in length of stay, fall risk, and hospital acquired conditions. This project seeks to pilot a systematic early mobility care pathway for moderate and high-risk populations. Several pilots run at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC) have shown benefits for targeted populations.

Team: Jennifer Nelson, RN, MSN, CCRN, Nurse Manager; Staci Pietrafesa, MSN, RN, NE-BC; Nurse Manager; Patty Baroni, MSN, RN, Clinical Director, Heart and Vascular Nursing; Paula Gabriel MSN, RN, CCRN CMC, Clinical Nurse Educator; Vanessa Ruangchotvit, RN; Kate James, RN; Francoise Eberhardt, RN; Gina Kumor RN; Sarita Lewis, Certified Nursing Assistant; Carl Reynolds MD, FACC, Cardiology Attending; Vibette Robles, RN, MSN, ONC, Clinical Nurse Educator; Anu Pullukattu, RN; Ann Christensen, RN; Joan Ivanoski, RN 

Evidence based guideline for management of hyperglycemic emergencies

This project aims to promote use of an evidence-based, guideline driven tool that will be used by all entities within the health system for management of hyperglycemic emergencies. The team has gathered an interdisciplinary group of stakeholders from multiple entities within the health system to revise the existing protocols. In the next phase of work, the team plans to create strategies to promote adoption of these best practices, as well as collect and implement ideas for revisions to enhance the end-user experience.

Team: Ilona Lorincz, MD, Director of Quality, Endocrinology; Nikhil Mull, MD, Co-Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice; Cassie Bellamy, PharmD, Clinical Specialist Medical Intensive Care Unit; Angela Mills. MD, Vice Chair of Clinical Operations, Emergency Medicine; Clinton Orloski, MD, Chief Resident, Emergency Medicine; Stephanie Mallie, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, Clinical Nurse Specialist; Marybeth O’Malley, MSN RN ACNS-BC, Clinical Nurse Specialist; Joyce Finnegan, BSN, RN, CEN, Assistant Nurse Manager, Emergency Department Observation Unit 

2016 finalists

Integrative therapies to reduce anxiety and pain, Susan Kristiniak, DHA, MSN, RN,AHN-BC, NEA-BC, IAC, Associate Director of UPHS Palliative Care; Predictive analytics to supplement nursing judgment of inpatient fall risk, Phyllis Dubendorf, Clinical Nurse Specialist; Reducing readmission rates at Good Shepherd Penn Partners (GSSP), Sonya Wood-Johnson, Quality Assurance Manager, GSSP; Silent checklist to improve ICU care, Barry Fuchs, MD, Medical Director, ICU and Respiratory Care Services; Leveraging a wait time monitor to improve satisfaction and enhance staff efficiency, Heather Snyder, RN, Clinical Manager; Platform for management and dissemination of basic clinical trials, Nathan Handley, MD, Fellow, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology; MBA candidate; Piloting a call line for cardiology consult requests, Srinath Adusumalli, MD and Paul Fiorilli, MD, Third-Year Fellows, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine; Preventing hernia-related complications after abdominal surgery, John Fischer MD, MPH, Director of Clinical Research, Division of Plastic Surgery

2015 class

Eight teams were selected from a pool of more than 85 applicants to participate in the program in 2015.  Learn more about the projects and watch video from Pitch Day below.

HiRPM, medication lab monitoring

The current method for tracking labs via spreadsheets, paper logs and manual lists within EPIC is extremely time consuming and subject to human error.  This project seeks to 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.

Team: Carmela Vittorio, MD, Vice Chair of Operations, Dermatology; Matthew Zarkos, IT Manager, Dermatology; Ilya Sharkansky, Senior Web Developer

Our Directives, increasing completion of and compliance with advance directives

Many patients – even those with multiple serious illnesses – have not completed advance directives.  The failure to know and follow patients’ end of life preferences leads to both moral distress among family members, inappropriate lengths of stay and utilization of hospital resources, and wasted expenditures that don’t serve patient interests.  This project seeks to dramatically increase the number of Penn Medicine patients with completed advance directives with an online platform optimized for usability and rapid testing of novel strategies to help patients confidently answer the questions required for completion.

Team: Susan Kristiniak, DHA, MSN, Associate Director of Palliative Care; Scott Halpern, MD PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine; Regina Miller, MSS, LCSW, HUP Social Work Team Leader; Cora Young, MSW, LSW, Manager of Case Management, Good Shepherd Penn Partners; Monique Neault, MSN, CRNP Inpatient Palliative Care Coordinator; Lisa Garcia, BSN, RN-BC, MSN(c), ACE Unit Manager; Rebecca Trotta, PhD, RN  Director of Nursing Research and Science

Eyes On-Site, retinal imaging by Scheie Eye

Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss in adults.  While such vision loss can be avoided by early diagnosis, diabetic patients receive eye examinations at a far lower rate than is necessary to prevent complications, with the majority missing their exam each year.  This project seeks to increase the rate of diabetic patients receiving necessary preventative eye services by offering an alternative to “in person” examinations.  Screenings can be accomplished with minimal impact on specialists’ time while driving increased appropriate volume to specialists for necessary care and achieving Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) goals.

Team: Thomasine Gorry, MD, MGA, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Co-Chair of CPUP Clinical Operations: Quality Domain; Joan O'Brien, MD, Chair of Ophthalmology; Sheara Hollin, COO, Scheie Eye Institute; Tomas Aleman, MD, Retina Service; Eydie Miller, MD, Director of Glaucoma Service, Scheie Eye Institute; Aron Berman, MBA, Director of Operations, Scheie Eye Institute; Gideon Whitehead, BM; Michael Kilzi, Esq.

ERAP, engaged recovery at Penn Medicine

Patient compliance with perioperative instructions supports improved outcomes and reduces the risk for complications and/or readmission.  There are long lists of instructions and protocols with strong evidence behind them – from diet and medication adherence to spirometer use, cleaning to avoid SSIs and ambulation – that are hard to understand, remember and follow in our current approach.  This project seeks to 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 improving patient experience.

Team: Stephanie Diem, BS, RN-BC, CAHIMS, Clinical Data Analyst; John Regan, MSN, RN, Manager, Clinical Data and Quality Systems; Allen Bar, MD, Clinical Professor, Hannah Lacko, Improvement Advisor; Aida Schumacher, Clinical Nurse Educator

Pre-Op Plus, reimagining the preoperative anesthesia evaluation process

There are many delays, cancellations and potentially catastrophic patient events that can be eliminated by identifying high-risk patients at the time of surgical scheduling, allowing for a multidisciplinary discussion of a perioperative care plan.  This project seeks to reduce surgical cancellations and delays, while optimizing patient outcomes and experience by increasing communication between Anesthesia and surgical practices.

Team: Marc Royo, MD, Clinical Instructor, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care; Elizabeth Valentine, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care; Renyu Liu, MD, MS, PhD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care; Onyi Onuoha, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care; Eric Greenblatt, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care; Kathryn Hall, MD, PGY-4 resident in Anesthesiology; Ronnie Zeidan, MD, PGY-3 resident in Anesthesiology; Joseph Savino, MD, Vice-Chair, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care; Lee Fleisher, MD, Chair, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care 

The BRIDGE Project: linking hospitalized patients to follow-up appointments 

Effective transitions of care for patients being discharged from the hospital are critical.  However, follow-up appointments are currently scheduled via individual phone calls between the patient’s inpatient team and each outpatient clinic without input from the patient.  This approach has resulted in only 49% of follow-up appointment being kept as scheduled at HUP. High no-show rates impact our clinics’ efficiency and revenue while the lack of follow up increases the risk of re-hospitalizations and exacerbations of chronic conditions for patients. This project seeks to test new patient scheduling and engagement strategies to reduce no-shows and cancellations, streamline care coordination, and improve patient experience.

Team: Rahul Banerjee, MD, Resident Physician, Department of Internal Medicine; Alex Suarez, Perelman School of Medicine; Scott Schlegel, MBA, Associate Vice President, Electronic Health Record Integration, UPHS; Michael McFall, Admission and Discharge Coordinator, HUP; Jennifer Myers, MD, Director of Quality and Safety Education, Perelman School of Medicine

PEACE, the pregnancy early access center

First trimester miscarriage is the most common complication of pregnancy.  Women often don’t know where to turn when they suspect a problem, resulting in unnecessary emergency room utilization. This project seeks to 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. 

Team: Courtney Schreiber, MD, MPH, Program Director for the Penn Family Planning and Pregnancy Loss Center, Obstetrics and Gynecology; Sarita Sonalkar, MD; Jennifer Moore-Conrow, Administrative Director; Shayna Nagel, RN; Janet Williams, Clinical Care Coordinator; Justine Lai, MBA Candidate 2016; Sarah Rottenberg, Associate Director, Integrated Product Design, Penn

Superutilization Management

A relatively small group of “superutilizers” account for a disproportionate amount of health care expenditures in practices nationwide.  This project seeks to develop and test methods to proactively identify superutilizer patients for new interventions to lower cost by reducing unnecessary utilization of outpatient, inpatient and emergency room care and improve patient outcomes.

Team: Anna Doubeni, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine and Community Health; Meg Baylson, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, Residency Director; Peter Cronholm, MD, MSCE, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health, Residency Associate Director, Director of Community Medicine Programs; Tanya Dougherty, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist; Steven Honeywell, Jr., Quality Improvement Research Analyst; Heather Klusaritz, PhD, Instructor Family Medicine and Community Health; Sam Martin, Quality Improvement Research Assistant 

2014 class

Telegenetics, increasing access to genetic counseling for remote cancer patients

Team: Angela R. Bradbury, MD

TIPS-Connect, testing connected health solutions for depression in prenatal and postpartum care

Team: Ian Bennett, MD, PhD; Janet Rocchio, Administrative Director, Helen O. Dickens Center for Women; Regina Howard, Practice Manager, Helen O. Dickens Center for Women; Rebecca Henderson, Research Assistant, Family Medicine and Community Health; The SPIRIT Group; Marian Moseley, MSS, MLSP, Social Worker; Jabina Coleman, MSW, CLC, Social Worker; C. Neill Epperson, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Liis Hantsoo, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Becky Marlow, RN, BSN, MBA, Administrative Director, Dickens Center for Women

Pennsieve, creating an automated, cloud-based system for interpreting long-term electroencephalogram data  

Team: Brian Litt, MD; Joost Wagenaar, PhD; Zachary Ives, PhD; Paulomi Kadakia, MD

2013 class

IMPaCT, establishing a sustainable and exportable business model for an evidence-based CHW model for care

Team: Shreya Kangovi, MD, MS; Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH; Joan Doyle, RN, MSN, MBA; David Grande, MD, MPA; Casey Chanton, MSW; Judith Long, MD; Mary White, CHW; Sharon McCollum, CHW

ARRTE, monitoring follow-up on radiologic findings using an informatics application

Team: Hanna Zafar, MD, MHSTessa Cook, MD, PhD; Seetharam Chadalavada, MD; Darco Lalevic; Caroline Sloan; Curtis Langlotz, MD, PhDMitchell Schnall, MD, PhD

Teledermatologyincreasing access to improve patient outcomes

Team: Jules Lipoff, MDCarrie Kovarick, MD; Junko Takeshita, MD, PhD; Ryan Littman-Quinn, Jake Moore, Priyank Sharma

Limiting Antimicrobial Resistance, generating real-time antibiograms

Team: Keith Hamilton, MD; Kevin Haynes, PharmD, MSCE; Jimish Mehta, PharmD

Care Management for VAD patientsexploring how self-testing can improve patient outcomes

Team: Lynn Washington, RN; Tricia Shustock, BSN, RN; HUP Silverstein 10 Nursing Team, Christyna Zalewski, BSN, RN; UPHS VAD Coordinator Team

The Innovation Accelerator Program would not be possible without the support of our many partners.  Each year, colleagues from departments across the University of Pennsylvania Health System provide access and expert advice critical to the success of our teams.  We would especially like to acknowledge our partners in the Information Services Department, the Data Science team, and the CMIO office for helping us to accomplish our mission to enable a culture of innovation at Penn Medicine. 



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Careers and Internships

Click here to learn about opportunities to join our team.