Innovation Accelerator Program

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. 

In May, we announced our 2021 Innovation Accelerator class. Over the next six months, the winning teams will learn methods for identifying, refining, and rapidly validating high-impact solutions and work closely with mentors from the Acceleration Lab and the Center for Digital Health to test and develop their concepts. In December, phase one will culminate with a pitch event, at which teams will present their progress for the opportunity to receive additional investment to take their ideas to scale. 


You can learn more about this year’s winners by checking out the descriptions below and reading this Penn Medicine News Blog post.

2021 class

Lead: Kristen Dwinnells, MA, RDN, LDN, CNSC, Clinical Manager, Clinical Nutrition Support Services, HUP 

People with severe malnutrition or pathology restricting eating by mouth require feeding through a tube, known as enteral nutrition (EN). Approximately 80 patients are discharged from HUP on EN each month. EN patients are 1.4 times more likely to be readmitted within 30 and 90 days, with a significant proportion of readmissions related to EN. The median cost of readmission in this patient population is $30,000. This project will explore interventions to reduce readmissions in this high-risk population. 


Leads: Nawar Latif, MD, MPH, MSCE, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, HUP and Leslie Andriani, MD, Clinical Fellow in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Penn Medicine 

Penn Medicine's gynecologic oncology division serves a medically and socially high-risk population conducting an average of 162 surgeries and 435 chemotherapy visits per month. From 2017 to 2019, gynecologic oncology patients accounted for more than 700 emergency department (ED) visits, with patients from high community need index zip codes representing 45 percent of visits. Among those undergoing surgery, between 8 to 11 percent of patients experience an unplanned readmission or ED visit after surgery – resulting in approximately $4.5 million in costs per year. This project aims to develop a standardized protocol for surgical post-discharge care and optimize outpatient care overall for gynecologic oncology patients. A successful intervention will improve outcomes, enhance patient experience, innovatively support clinical teams, and reduce preventable readmissions, ED visits, and post-discharge complications.   


Lead: Denise Xu, MD, PGY-3 Neurology Resident, HUP 

For a place with so many beds, hospitals are far from restful. Studies show that patients sleep on average two fewer hours in the hospital as compared to at home. Sleep disruptions can negatively impact experience and health outcomes, prevent patients from actively participating in daytime care like physical therapy, and increase length of stay and readmissions. Currently, there is no unit-based approach for improving sleep and preventing patient delirium on hospital wards. Clinical care, such as medication administration, vital sign checks, lab draws, and even baths, continues throughout each night, disregarding natural sleep cycles. This project will explore how novel interventions can be leveraged to improve patient rest during hospital stays. 


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 (June - December)


  • 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. 

Gynecologic oncology patients image
TOGETHER Care Improving post-operative and therapeutic care for high-risk patients in gynecologic oncology

TOGETHER CARE seeks to identify strategies to optimize surgical post-discharge and outpatient care for gynecologic oncology patients.

Enteral nutrition image
Check-EN Reducing readmissions among patients discharged with enteral nutrition

Check-EN seeks to reduce readmissions among patients discharged with enteral nutrition.

Catching Z's image
Catching Zs Improving sleep consolidation for neurology inpatients
Catching Zs

The Catching Z's project seeks to explore how novel interventions can be leveraged to improve patient rest during hospital stays.