Reflecting on 2021

It’s easy to think that not much has changed since the initial start of COVID-19. The virus still kept many people at home this past year. Cases have continued to fluctuate. And it doesn’t appear that the illness will leaving us any time soon. 

But we also have many things to celebrate. Countless people around the world have been vaccinated. A majority of kids are back in school. And numerous individuals have gone back to visiting family, traveling and living like as close to usual as they can.  

As 2021 comes to a close, we want to reflect on the projects our teams within OSF Innovation have achieved to transform education, care and services for this new normal. They are accomplishments that will better help our communities and the people we serve.   

Hospital at home

In the beginning months of COVID-19, OSF Innovation leaders had the foresight to consider how the virus would impact hospital care. With that, a multidisciplinary team came up with an idea to help OSF HealthCare treat both COVID-19 patients and non-COVID hospital patients at home. Using an agile approach to project management, the group designed the OSF Digital Hospital at Home and Acute COVID@Home programs to treat people using video conferencing and other technology. The learnings from this project have been transitioned to OSF OnCall Digital Health for further development. You can read more about this story here 

Addressing health inequity

While OSF Innovation is working on a variety of projects to improve community health delivery and wellness outcomes in Chicago’s most underserved communities, we want to celebrate two initiatives that launched this year. First off, OSF HealthCare announced a partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) to establish the Community Health Advocacy (CHA) program. The grant program will fund projects between UIC faculty and OSF Mission Partners that address health and wellness challenges in urban communities. Read the full story here 

OSF also announced a partnership with Sustainable Wellness through Innovation, Technology, & Collaborative Health, an organization launched by City Tech Collaborative (City Tech). As part of the collaboration, SWITCH and OSF HealthCare are exploring the possibility of expanding and commercializing OSF CommunityConnect (OCC), a software platform to improve access to health care, education and disease prevention in the Chicago area. It’s also being used in partnership with the Medicaid Innovation Collaborative to create solutions that improve access and quality of care for Medicaid patients throughout the state. Learn more about this partnership here 

Bringing Mission Partner ideas to fruition

The OSF Innovation Studio was launched to help Mission Partners bring their health care solutions to life and eventually to market. The OSF Innovation Studio has received more than 125 concepts since 2019 with some moving on to full invention disclosure or the commercialization process. Nearly twenty are progressing through a product development process. And the OSF Innovation Studio has filed its first non-provisional patent in the US, Canada and Europe. 

One solution the team is helping to commercialize was developed by two OSF nurses. They created a medical device table that surgical teams use to pull any implant information they may need during a surgery. 

In a year and a half, the OSF Innovation Studio helped the small team refine their concept into a web-based application that allows for a more robust and editable database. Surgical teams within OSF Saint Francis are now using the Implantable Device Matrix app on a regular basis. The inventors are working with the OSF Innovation Studio on the opportunity to file a provisional patent on their idea. And plans are underway for commercialization. Check out our case study on this story here. 

Adapting to changes in education

Jump Simulation Mission Partners did a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure clinicians and students were getting the practice they needed to fulfill training and continuing education requirements during COVID-19. That included brainstorming ways to deliver quality learning opportunities while adhering to restrictions and guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

With simulation specialists taking the lead, they developed on-site learning protocols, adopted digital platforms and used teleconferencing to serve as many learners as possible — all without sacrificing the world-class learning experiences we are known for. Take a look at some the actions Jump took to continue delivering world class education.  

Mapping out the future of neurosciences

Leaders at OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute wanted a clear vision for the future of its service line. As a result, the group worked with Performance Improvement to map out the next seven to ten years of the Neurosciences Service Line using the future back strategy process. This approach gives an organization the opportunity to define its future and then work backward to implement the actions needed to follow that path. Learn more about this process here 

Looking forward to next year

We are likely to feel the ongoing effects of COVID-19 well into 2022. That paired with the need to address ongoing and new challenges will require us to develop a multiyear strategy.  

Over the next year, we will develop a future back plan that will guide our future endeavors. In the meantime, we are equipping our Mission Partners with the competencies they will need to design our future.   

We are building capabilities to ensure we solve the right problems and deliver the right solutions. And we are embracing new approaches to solve our most complex problems.   

Last Updated: January 20, 2022

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About Author: Becky Buchen

Becky Buchen has served as the Senior Vice President of Innovation Operations for OSF HealthCare since 2018. In this role, Becky oversees the OSF Innovation Studio and Performance Improvement.
This includes oversight of Intellectual Property Policy management, the Performance Improvement portfolio across the Ministry and the innovation process that supports idea generation, solution discovery and pilot testing. She is also responsible for the development of the operational infrastructure needed to support innovation and assures innovation results are measured and achieved.
Becky works collaboratively with executive leadership to drive the OSF Innovation agenda, including engaging Mission Partners in the process, educating them on innovation and creating an innovation competency at OSF HealthCare.

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About Author: John Vozenilek

Dr. John Vozenilek, MD works primarily across two wonderful entities in central Illinois; University of Illinois College of Engineering (BioEng) and Health Care Systems Engineering Center and as Chief Medical Officer for Digital Health and Innovation, leading OSF Innovation and the OSF Jump Center. At OSF, the work began as proper training for clinicians, now the center leads the charge to incorporate design and engineering into our healthcare work. Currently, the simulation center allows designers and engineers to observe and characterize “work as performed” for their creative efforts.

As Chief Medical Officer for Digital Health and Innovation, Dr. Vozenilek leads efforts to improve health outcomes; in particular via physician and provider workforce development, in telehealth applications, human centered design work to address disparities in health outcomes due to non-clinical determinants of health, and in the design of interventions addressing cost, quality, patient and provider experience. Under his remit, the “Innovation Discovery Labs” have established key focus areas for healthcare innovation at OSF.

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Categories: Innovation