Penn Medicine


Innovation Accelerator Program

Call for proposals

The deadline to apply for the 2018 Innovation Accelerator Program has passed.  Applicants can expect to hear from our team about the status of their submission by September 14.  Check back in early October for information about this year's winners.


Teams accepted to participate in phase one of the program receive:

  • Training: Teams attend a series of workshops to learn high-impact methods for rapidly validating solutions
  • Mentorship: An Innovation Advisor from the Center's Acceleration Lab dedicates 40% of their time to the project
  • Funding:  Teams have access to up to $10,000 to test and develop their concepts
  • Recognition and additional support: At the end of phase one, teams present their work to health system leadership for the opportunity to receive additional investment

Selection criteria

Winners will be selected by considering, among other points, the following criteria:

  • Alignment with the Center’s mission 
  • Commitment of a passionate driver with the capacity to push work forward
  • Team willingness to rapidly explore multiple opportunities to achieve desired outcomes
  • Potential impact if proven effective and deployed at Penn Medicine
  • Potential to replicate and scale in other settings

Key dates and deadlines

  • July 18 - application period opens
  • September 4 – application deadline (5 PM)
  • Week of September 10 – select teams contacted and scheduled for interview
  • Week of September 17 – in-person interviews conducted
  • Early October- winners announced
  • Early November- program kickoff

Internship program

The Innovation Accelerator internship program connects students from a variety of backgrounds and educational programs with teams participating in the Innovation Accelerator Program.  Interns gain hands-on experience and receive direct mentorship from Center staff and project teams.  The deadline to submit an application is 5 PM on Monday, October 1.  Interested students can learn more and apply here.


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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.  Working closely with mentors from the Center, teams move through three phases of work with the ultimate goal of bringing successful innovations to scale.

Since the inception of the program, 30 projects tackling some of health care’s toughest challenges have been funded.  Learn more about the structure of the program, and the support teams receive below.


Phase one: It might work. 

In phase one, teams work to better understand the problem, rapidly test potential solutions, and define how to measure success.  At the end of phase one, teams present to health system leadership for the opportunity to receive additional investment to take their ideas to scale.  

Duration: Six months (November to April)


  • Training: Teams attend a series of workshops to learn high-impact methods for rapidly validating solutions
  • Mentorship: An Innovation Advisor from the Center's Acceleration Lab dedicates 40% of their time to the project
  • Funding:  Teams have access to up to $10,000 to test and develop their concepts
  • Recognition and additional support: At the end of phase one, teams present their work to health system leadership for the opportunity to receive additional investment

Success criteria

  • Define a meaningful problem space with baseline data.
  • Develop an understanding of key problem drivers.
  • Engage a working team to develop and test interventions.
  • Set measurable targets for your work.
  • Run a series of small experiments based on clear hypotheses
  • Generate early evidence that you can move the needle.
  • Identify and engage operational stakeholders who are willing to support your intervention once you have demonstrated impact.

Phase two: It does work. 

In phase two, teams move from conducting small experiments to testing on a larger scale. Teams are challenged to demonstrate sustained impact and secure the resources and stakeholder support necessary to move their solution towards implementation. 

Duration: One year (June-May)


  • Training: Teams attend a series of workshops to learn approaches and skills for bringing innovations to scale.  
  • Mentorship: Innovation Advisors continue to dedicate time to the project.  Allocation varies by project.
  • Funding:  Teams have access to up to $50,000 to move work forward. 

Success criteria

  • Test your intervention at a level of scale that provides the evidence needed for operational stakeholders to invest in further scaling and sustaining your solution.
  • Define and articulate a business model to support your solution at scale.  This includes demonstrating a clear return on investment for the health system, payers, and additional stakeholders with the resources to support your intervention.

Phase three: How we work.

Leveraging knowledge and momentum from previous phases, teams work with stakeholders to secure the permanent infrastructure necessary for their intervention.  Teams “graduate” when they achieve sustainable implementation at scale for their solution. 

Duration: Varies by project


  • Gap resources as needed (funding, staff support, leadership advising).

Success criteria

  • Develop and execute a strategy to operationalize your intervention at scale with resources independent of the Center.
  • Identify clear metrics and infrastructure for accountability and continuous improvement.

2017 class

The 2017 Innovation Accelerator class was co-sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, supporting their priority of enabling high-value care delivery models.  

Supporting Older Adults at Risk (SOAR)

Traditionally, older hospitalized adults are discharged when medically stable and once post-discharge care is organized. This approach causes patients to stay in the hospital beyond what is medically necessary waiting for services to be arranged. This delay compromises patient safety and overall health status and leads to increased hospital cost. The SOAR project aims to test a transitional care model with strong prior evidence of improved outcomes that “flips” assessment of post-discharge needs to the home setting, moving patients to home sooner with care and support that keeps them safe upon earlier discharge. 

Team lead: Rebecca Trotta, PhD, RN, Director of Nursing Research and Science

Penn Medicine Virtual Care

Studies have shown that telemedicine video visits can increase provider capacity, improve patient satisfaction and reduce costs. However, the state of Pennsylvania does not have telemedicine parity reimbursement law. The Penn Medicine Virtual Care project aims to test a self-pay concierge service model for telemedicine video visits in partnership with Independence Blue Cross. The goal is to prove that evaluation and management services can be completed through video visits for the right clinical use cases while enhancing access and establishing a solid business model. 

Team lead: Janice Hillman, MD, PENNCare Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Penn Medicine at Radnor 

Advanced Heart Care at Home

Heart failure (HF) is projected to affect more than 8 million people from 2012 to 2030. The costs associated with HF are approximately $30.7 billion annually, a large proportion of which is accumulated as patients approach the end of life. The care of HF patients during end of life is suboptimal in comparison to other populations, and there are high rates of hospitalization. Inadequate and lack of timely symptom management results in emergency department (ED) visits and readmissions. The Advanced Heart Care at Home team is developing a heart failure program to improve symptom management for advanced heart failure patients, facilitate teamwork among palliative care and cardiology providers, and increase more timely referrals to hospice.

Team leads: Nina O'Connor, MD, Chief of Hospice and Palliative Care, Penn Medicine and Esther Pak, MD, Fellow in Cardiovascular Medicine


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. and hospitalizations for COPD exacerbations are associated with high morbidity and significant short-term mortality. Nationally, inpatient treatment for COPD exacerbations accounts for approximately 13 billion dollars in direct costs. Approximately 20% of patients admitted to the hospital with COPD are readmitted within 30 days, and it’s estimated that 10-50% of readmissions may be preventable. The BreatheBetterTogether team is working to develop a multidisciplinary cost-effective transitional care program for COPD patients. The program will include evidence-based interventions targeting high-risk hospitalized patients who are discharged to home.  

Team lead: Vivek Ahya, MD, Vice Chief, Clinical Affairs, Pulmonary, Allergy & Critical Care Division; Associate Professor of Medicine

2016 class

The 2017 Innovation Accelerator class was co-sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, supporting their priority of enabling high-value care delivery models.  

Watch video from Pitch Day.

  • Live Better, reducing readmissions in cirrhotic and post liver transplant patients
  • Calorimeter, improving nutrition monitoring for critically ill patients                                                
  • IDTS, increasing the identification and monitoring of OPAT patients
  • The Mobility Project, reducing functional decline and loss of mobility for hospitalized patients
  • TargetPath, implementing an evidence-based guideline for management of hyperglycemic emergencies
  • Penn Medicine Experience, integrative therapies to reduce anxiety and pain
  • ICU Care Coordination Platform, a silent checklist to improve ICU care
  • Penn Trials, a platform for the management and dissemination of basic clinical trials
  • Card Consults, piloting a call line for cardiology consult requests

2015 class

Watch video from Pitch Day.

  • HiRPM, enhanced lab monitoring for high-risk patients
  • Our Care Wishes, an online platform to facilitate advance care planning
  • Eyes On-Site, Transforming retinal screening for diabetic patients 
  • ERAP, engaged recovery at Penn Medicine
  • Pre-Op Plus, reimagining the preoperative anesthesia evaluation process
  • The BRIDGE Project, increasing show rates at post-discharge follow-up appointments
  • PEACE, a new model for pregnancy loss
  • Superutilization Management, shifting health care utilization for patients with complex needs

2014 class

  • Telegenetics, increasing access to genetic counseling for remote cancer patients
  • TIPS-Connecttesting connected health solutions for depression in prenatal and postpartum care
  • Heart Safe Motherhood, engaging patients in text-based remote monitoring
  • Pennsieve, an automated, cloud-based system for interpreting long-term electroencephalogram data

2013 class

  • IMPaCT, establishing a sustainable and exportable business model for an evidence-based CHW model for care
  • ARRTE, monitoring follow-up on radiologic findings using an informatics application
  • Teledermatologyincreasing access to improve patient outcomes
  • Teqqa, generating real-time antibiograms to limit antimicrobial resistance
  • Care Management for VAD patientsexploring how self-testing can improve patient outcomes

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Careers and Internships

Click here to learn about opportunities to join our team.