Innovation Accelerator Program

2021 call for proposals

The Innovation Accelerator Program supports 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 innovation advisors, teams selected to participate in the program move through multiple phases of work to validate solutions and bring successful innovations to scale at Penn Medicine and beyond. 

The deadline to apply to the 2021 program has passed. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. All teams will be notified about the official status of their applications by mid-April.

Key dates and deadlines

  • February 1: Application period opens
  • February 12: Virtual information session
  • March 5 at 5:00 PM: Application deadline
  • Week of March 15: Select teams contacted and scheduled for interview
  • March 22 - March 31: Virtual interviews conducted
  • April: Winner notification and onboarding
  • May: Phase one begins

Evaluation criteria

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

  • Alignment with the Center for Health Care Innovation'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/or scale in other settings

Working closely with innovation advisors, teams move through multiple phases of work to validate new approaches and bring successful innovations to scale at Penn Medicine and beyond. 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 gain a deep understanding of the problem or opportunity space, rapidly test potential solutions, and generate early evidence that they can move the needle. 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 (May to November)


  • Training: Teams attend a series of workshops to learn high-impact methods for rapidly validating solutions
  • Mentorship: Innovation advisors dedicate 40% of their time to the project
  • Funding: Teams have access to up to $10,000 to test and develop their concepts, with additional funding available based on evidence generated by initial efforts
  • Recognition and additional support: At the end of phase one, teams present 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 explicit 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 advance their solution towards implementation. 

Duration: Up to one year (varies by project)


  • 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
  • Demonstrate a clear return on investment for the health system, payers, and additional stakeholders with the resources to support your intervention
  • Define and articulate a business model to support your solution at scale

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 a sustainable infrastructure for the solution is implemented at Penn Medicine.

Duration: Up to one year (varies by project)

Support: 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 program
  • Identify clear metrics and infrastructure for accountability and continuous improvement

Phase four: How others work

When appropriate, we support teams to energize and catalyze other health systems to adopt successful innovations.

BreatheBetterTogether A hospital to home program for patients with COPD

BreatheBetterTogether (BBT) is a hospital to home transition program for patients with COPD that facilitates the development and implementation of personalized home-based interventions.

PATH A practical alternative to hospitalization

PATH supports patients who present to the emergency department to recover from acute illness at home. This innovative model provides a superior patient experience while reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.

Cancer Care @ Home Safe, efficient, life-extending care in the comfort of home
Cancer Care @ Home

Cancer Care @ Home is an evidence-based, patient-centered program that enables life-extending cancer treatment to be delivered in the home.

PEACE A new model for pregnancy loss

PEACE is an integrated family planning and urgent pregnancy care model that fills a gap in care. It provides an office-based care option for the diagnosis, counseling management, and prevention of early pregnancy complications with an evidence-based approach that centers around the patient’s priorities.

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

The care management for VAD patients project seeks to optimize anticoagulation management for cardiac patients with ventricular assistance devices for heart failure.

IRIS An automated, cloud-based system for interpreting long-term electroencephalogram data

IRIS is an automated physiologic monitoring platform designed for use in the intensive care unit. The platform streams and analyzes long-term electroencephalogram monitoring data, utilizes a central server for event detection, and delivers caretaker notifications through a custom, secure API that is HIPAA-compliant.

CORE Comprehensive support for individuals struggling with opioid use disorder

CORE provides comprehensive support for patients struggling with opioid use disorder by focusing on three key touchpoints; identification and engagement, treatment, and support after discharge.

PreAct Precision medicine for patients with ovarian cancer

PreAct combines elements of technology and high-touch follow-up to optimize the genetic and tumor testing pathway for providers and patients.

Eyes on Site Transforming retinal screening for diabetic patients
Eyes on Site

Eyes on Site is a retinal screening model that makes it easy for patients to meet recommended screening standards for diabetic eye care.

PreOp+ Reimagining the preoperative anesthesia evaluation process

PreOp+ is a screening program that delivers the value of a preoperative anesthesia clinic without disrupting clinical workflow, burdening patients, or adding additional cost.

Fast Track to Fertility Accelerating and enhancing care for fertility patients
Fast Track to Fertility

Fast Track to Fertility reimagines the fertility intake process to enable patients to start personalized treatment sooner.

SOAR Supporting older adults at risk

SOAR gets older adults out of the hospital sooner and helps them recover at home safely. 

Healing at Home Supporting new mothers in the fourth trimester
Healing at Home

Healing at Home supports the postpartum needs of parents and babies by implementing an expedited discharge process and providing around-the-clock access to clinical guidance in the fourth-trimester.

Superutilization Management Shifting health care utilization for patients with complex needs
Superutilization Management

The Superutilization Management Program integrates patients who have a history of pursuing low-value, high-cost care into a supportive network that enables them to quickly and easily connect with providers to obtain the right level of care for their needs.

Heart Safe Motherhood An evidence-based program for postpartum women with hypertension
Heart Safe Motherhood

Heart Safe Motherhood is a first-of-its-kind text-based program for postpartum blood pressure monitoring that enables patients to track their blood pressure from the comfort of their home and communicate with their care team without visiting a doctor's office. 

TargetPath Implementing an evidence-based guideline for management of hyperglycemic emergencies

TargetPath is a comprehensive program designed to translate evidence-based guidelines into action at the bedside for patients experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis.

HiRPM Enhanced lab monitoring for high-risk patients

HiRPM is a comprehensive platform that automates lab monitoring for patients on long-term, high-risk medications.

Teledermatology Increasing access to dermatology consultations

Dermatology consultations have demonstrated an ability to improve patient outcomes, reduce unnecessary utilization, and decrease clinical costs.

Teledermatology improves access to dermatology care for patients at Penn Medicine.

ICU Care Coordination Platform Helping critical care teams recognize recovery sooner and take timely action
ICU Care Coordination Platform

The ICU Care Coordination Platform is an automated digital platform that monitors the status of patients in the intensive care unit in real-time and prompts providers when action is needed.

Penn Telegenetics Program Increasing access to genetic counseling
Penn Telegenetics Program

The Penn Telegenetics Program leverages telemedicine to expand genetic testing and counseling services to populations with limited or no access to care. 

IDTS Monitoring System Increasing the identification and monitoring of OPAT patients
IDTS Monitoring System

The IDTS monitoring system is a comprehensive dashboard that aggregates actionable real-time information about outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy patients at Penn Medicine so that they can be monitored by providers on the Infectious Diseases Transition Service.  

Real-Time Antibiograms Generating real-time antibiograms to limit antimicrobial resistance
Real-Time Antibiograms
Penn Medicine's real-time antibiogram software enables health care providers to access real-time interactive data on antibiotic susceptibility and resistance patterns, making it possible to track, prevent, and treat superbug infections more effectively.
IMPaCT A standardized, scalable program that leverages community health workers

IMPaCT is an evidence-based, standardized program that harnesses the power of Community Health Workers to improve patient outcomes and quality of care.

The Mobility Project Reducing functional decline and loss of mobility for hospitalized patients
The Mobility Project

The mobility project leverages gamification to address mobility barriers for moderate and high-risk hospitalized patients. 

Live Better Reducing readmissions in cirrhotic and post-liver transplant patients
Live Better

Live Better is an automated hovering program designed to keep cirrhosis and liver transplant patients out of the hospital. 

TIPS-Connect Improving screening for depression in prenatal and postpartum care

TIPS-Connect is a tablet-based depression screening model for use in prenatal and postpartum care. The intervention, co-designed with patients and providers, implements privacy-centric, evidence-based screening in the clinic setting.

LiveAware A screening and navigation platform for hepatocellular carcinoma

LiveAware is a digital platform designed to increase screening rates for patients at risk for hepatocellular carcinoma. 

Advanced Heart Care at Home A home-based program for high-risk heart failure patients
Advanced Heart Care at Home

Advanced Heart Care at Home is a heart failure-specific program that aims to serve high-risk patients in the home setting to improve symptoms and facilitate timely referrals to hospice care.

MEND Enhancing mental health engagement, navigation, and delivery

MEND flips the mental health paradigm on its head by integrating proactive psychiatry into existing inpatient care.

ARRTE Monitoring follow-up on radiologic findings using an informatics application

ARRTE enables automated monitoring of patients who need follow-up evaluation based on radiologist recommendations.

Our Care Wishes A platform to facilitate advance care planning
Our Care Wishes

Our Care Wishes is a free digital platform that supports users in creating, storing, and sharing detailed preferences about their wishes for care. 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions from past applicants. If your question is not answered below, please send an email to  

Frequently asked questions

  • Who can apply? All Penn Medicine and University of Pennsylvania employees are welcome to apply. In the past, faculty, clinicians, nurses, and corporate staff have served as team leads.
  • Can I submit more than one application? Yes, multiple applications can be submitted by an individual or team.
  • What kind of projects are you looking to fund? 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: achieving better health outcomes, redesigning care for higher value, increasing health equity, improving clinician and care team experience, enhancing patient experience, and/or optimizing patient engagement with non-traditional data sets and technology. At the core, we are looking for big and important problems and teams ready and excited to explore solutions. 
  • After applying, when will I get a response? Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. All teams will be notified about the official status of their applications by mid-April.
  • What is the timeline for phase one of the program? Phase one will begin in May and run through November 2021.
  • What kind of mentorship will my team receive in phase one? Each team will be matched with an innovation advisor who will dedicate 40% of their time to the project. Teams will also be invited to attend a series of workshops to learn high impact innovation methods for refining and rapidly validating solutions and participate in mentoring sessions with leadership from the Center for Health Care Innovation every 30 days.
  • Is technical support available? Technical support can be provided if needed, based on individual projects. We have technical staff on hand for design and development and expertise with legal and health system policy. We can also access Penn Medicine resources such as our internal IS/IT, EPIC support, and Data Science teams. Along with your innovation advisor, your team will determine when to access such resources.
  • Will the program be run differently due to COVID-19? We will abide by Penn Medicine COVID-19 protocols for all program operations. Given this, larger events such as innovation bootcamp will likely be conducted virtually. In terms of on-the-ground project work, we will work with each team to develop a tailored plan that will allow for deep contextual inquiry, rapid piloting, and support from the CHCI team, while putting the safety of faculty, staff, and patients first.