Penn Medicine

March 2021

Month in Review March 2021

Each month, we round up news stories and publications about work happening at the Acceleration Lab, Center for Digital Health, Nudge Unit, and Way to Health. Want to stay in the know? Subscribe to have the Month in Review sent directly to your inbox.

A message from CHCI leadership

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Penn Medicine's investment in innovation paid dividends. Telemedicine was already in use. We had experimented with delivering care through automation and tested structures for exception management and escalation. We had internal platforms, like Agent and Way to Health, that would enable us to deploy new programs quickly. And most importantly, we had care teams and staff who were ready and willing to design and implement new approaches to care delivery.

Working with partners from across the health system, we launched upwards of 20 projects in the first 60 days. These shoulder-to-shoulder collaborations with mission-driven colleagues were energizing. We stood up drive-thru testing sites, designed a chatbot to answer patient questions quickly, developed an automated system to watch over COVID-19 patients at home, tracked national sentiment and symptoms on social media, launched a web-based platform to connect frontline employees to mental health care, moved care delivery from hospitals and clinics to the home, implemented testing programs, and so much more

This past year has dramatically demonstrated both the short-term and long-term returns to disciplined investment in innovation. One year into the pandemic, and we're still going. We hope you'll stay tuned for updates.

David A. Asch, MD, Executive Director, Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation
Roy Rosin, MBA, Chief Innovation Officer, Penn Medicine

Top Stories

How Penn Medicine reimagined breast reconstruction
Penn Medicine's CARe program shifts care for autologous breast reconstruction from a high-touch clinic-based model to a digitally-enabled-home-based strategy that ensures a more patient-centric return to independence. In NEJM Catalyst, CARe's multidisciplinary team describes the iterative design approach they used to transform the recovery process to improve outcomes and quality of life. The piece emphasizes their efforts to (1) Reimagine the status quo, (2) Enable role reassignment, (3) Automate algorithmic care, and (4) Deliver holistic care.


Design and implementation of Covid SAFE

Regular COVID-19 testing is a critical component for the safe reopening of schools and businesses. In NEJM Catalyst, researchers from the Nudge Unit present insights from the design and implementation of Covid SAFE, a saliva-based testing program developed by a multi-stakeholder group at Penn Medicine. Covid SAFE remotely enrolls participants, enables automated bidirectional text messaging, incorporates symptom monitoring, and automatically reports test results.

Using machine learning to compare substance use disorder treatment centers
There are currently no nationwide measures of quality to evaluate and compare facilities that treat substance use disorder (SUD). In the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers from the Center for Digital Health describe how machine learning-aided analysis can be leveraged to uncover themes in online reviews of SUD care. The team analyzed Yelp and Google reviews of more than 500 facilities in the U.S. The themes associated with positive reviews included "long-term recovery," "dedicated staff," and "dedication to patients." In contrast, the themes associated with negative reviews were "professionalism," "phone communication," and "overall communication." The team believes that findings from this research can be used to improve patient-centered addiction care.


Did the COVID-19 pandemic change activity among patients most at risk for heart disease?

A study led by researchers at the Nudge Unit revealed that stay-at-home orders put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with a significant decline in physical activity among adults with elevated risk for major adverse cardiovascular events. The study's findings also suggest that the pandemic could disproportionately reduce physical activity among minority and urban patients, further increasing disparities in preventative health behaviors.

Collaborate With Us

Register to attend the Nudges in Health Care Symposium

Save the date for the Nudges in Health Care Symposium on May 20, 2021, with keynote speaker David Halpern from the Behavioural Insights Team. The symposium will be virtual, and registration is free. Individuals interested in participating should complete this form to be notified when registration and other symposium information are made available.

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