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Penn Medicine Provides Funding for Healthcare Innovation

May 29, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation will fund three new initiatives in the second round of its Innovation Grant Program, which encourages Penn employees and students to submit their ideas for advancing health and healthcare delivery.

Fifty-six different ideas were submitted for review this spring, and each winner will receive design support and between $5,000 and $75,000 in funding to further develop and test their idea.

The winning projects include:

Cloud-based platform for ICU EEG monitoring and visualizing results

A team led by Brian Litt, M.D., a professor in neurology and bioengineering, will build an automated, cloud-based platform for ICU electroencephalogram (EEG) interpretation. Patients are monitored continuously with EEGs in ICUs worldwide, and recent studies show a large percentage of ICU patients have seizures, brain ischemia, encephalopathy, or other conditions that can be detected early on an EEG, allowing therapy to be initiated promptly. However, continuous long-term EEG monitoring currently presents two major problems: it must be interpreted manually by physicians, delaying the delivery of results to the caregivers, and those caregivers rely on written reports from these studies, thus inhibiting the ability to view trends over time or forecast when a patient’s condition may deteriorate. The project aims to build an automated, cloud-based system for interpreting long-term ICU EEG data to speed response to changes in patients’ conditions and improve patient outcomes.

Telemedicine to improve access to genetic services

Angela R. Bradbury, M.D., an assistant professor of hematology-oncology in the Abramson Cancer Center, will use telemedicine to increase access to genetic testing and counseling services. Genetic testing for cancer susceptibility is now an essential component of oncology care, increasing the need for genetic counseling specialists to assist in care of patients and their families. In an NIH study, Bradbury and her team showed telemedicine can be an effective way to expand genetic services to populations with limited or no access to care.  The new project seeks to transition the team’s research-supported telemedicine program to a sustainable clinical model. 

Technology to improve prenatal services

Spearheaded by Ian Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of family medicine and community health, this initiative uses text messages to engage and educate patients, enabling early interventions to reduce poor pregnancy outcomes. The project will create an application to deliver information regarding signs and symptoms of adverse pregnancy conditions to at risk women via text message. Fundamental to this project is the belief that an informed and engaged patient will increase the effectiveness of monitoring for pregnancy disorders.

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