2017 Innovation Pilot Award Winners Announced

The UNC Center for Health Innovation is pleased to announce winners of the fifth annual Innovation Pilot Awards. The Center sought proposals from employees for innovations across a spectrum of areas including care delivery, new technology, advanced analytics and others.

Four winners emerged from thirty strong applications received from across UNC Health Care and the School of Medicine. The proposals demonstrated clear dedication to improving care for our patients and strengthening our health care system.

The winning teams include:

Development of Augmented Reality Applications to Improve Safety and Efficiency in the Operating Room

PI:  Austin Rose, MD (Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery)    

Co-PI:  Henry Fuchs, PhD (Computer Science)

Co-PI: Jan-Michael Frahm, PhD (Computer Science)

Leveraging the rapidly developing technology known as augmented reality, this team will develop an augmented reality system for use in both open and endoscopic surgery. Augmented reality is defined as a live direct or indirect view of a physical environment whose elements are augmented by the fusion of computer-generated and real-time images. This augmented reality environment for the operating room would allow for localization of a patient's specific pathology and normal anatomic landmarks. The ability to super-impose the exact location and dimensions of an underlying tumor, for example, on a surgeon’s direct view of the patient promises to positively impact both efficiency and patient safety in the operating room.

Procedure Scheduling Prediction Model, Integration, and Web Application      

PI:  Spencer Dorn, MD, MPH, MHA (Gastroenterology)

Co-PI:  Larry Klein, MD (Cardiology)

This team will develop and implement Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) services at UNC to power a model that predicts the likelihood a patient will attend an appointment and a companion app that uses that model to optimize how patients are scheduled for gastrointestinal procedures (e.g., colonoscopies and upper endoscopies). UNC will gain infrastructure and experience with a single open-standards-based pipeline for data integration, standardization, and access to solve focused research and clinical problems. No-shows to gastroenterology procedure appointments are especially costly given the high demand for these appointments and significant fixed resources required to deliver these services. The app will combine patient-reported and clinical data to optimize how patients are scheduled and prepared for these procedures.

Infectious Diseases Discharge Outreach and Outpatient Retention (ID DOOR) Program

PI:  Claire Farel, MD, MPH (Infectious Diseases)           

Co-PI:  David Weber, MD, MPH (Associate CMO)

Building on the back of UNC Infectious Disease’s Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) Program, ID DOOR will positively disrupt the workflow surrounding hospital discharge for Infectious Disease patients at high risk of adverse outcomes, suboptimal completion of a therapeutic plan, and readmission. ID DOOR will expand access to clinical pharmacist outpatient services post-discharge to ensure medication safety, fidelity to discharge planning and to address any medication side effects. The pharmacist will work closely with UNC’s transition of care team as well as OPAT providers and the program is expected to improve safety, clinical efficiency, patient access, patient satisfaction, and clinical outcomes.  

Integrated Memory Assessment in Primary Care

PI:  Dan Kaufer, MD (Neurology/Psychiatry)                   

Co-PI:  Philip Sloane, MD, MPH (Family Medicine/Geriatrics)

This pilot study will assess the feasibility and validate core components of an integrated pathway for centralized web-based remote cognitive screening, triage, and follow-up neurocognitive assessment for positive screens in primary care. Two computer-based screening assessment tools for neurocognitive disorders will be developed and validated as part of patients’ annual Medicare Wellness Visits completed in primary care. CMS requires cognitive screening to be part of the annual wellness visits but there is no widely accepted standard protocol. This project lays the foundation for transforming memory care from “passive referral” to an “active triage” model and helps primary care providers identify appropriate patients for referral to specialty care.

Thanks to all of the 2017 applicants for their interest and dedication, and congratulations to the winners.

Established by UNC Health Care and the UNC School of Medicine, the Center for Health Innovation initiates, evaluates and supports the adoption of disruptive, patient-centered innovations in the delivery and financing of health care. The Center strives to provide rapid assessment, coordinated facilitation, program management, partnership development and funding for innovation. To learn more, visit our webpage at www.med.unc.edu/innovation.




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