Millions of people across the country live with some type of medical device in their bodies to treat chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and epilepsy. The problem is that most people don’t know their implant’s instructions for use, and that can be harmful if they ever have to undergo surgery. As a result, surgeries and other procedures are sometimes canceled or delayed if an unknown implant is discovered in order to protect the patient and device.
This was an ongoing issue at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center until two nurses came up with an idea. They created a paper-based medical device table where surgical teams can quickly pull any implant information they need during a surgery. In hopes of scaling and commercializing their concept, they submitted their prototype to the OSF Innovation Studio, a group dedicated to bringing Mission Partner ideas to fruition.
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.
"Our front line clinicians have so many good ideas out there. We are a testimonial that with the right coaching and resources, you can turn your idea into a viable product that can benefit not just our patients but those around the country."
- Jill Teubel, MSN, clinical nurse educator for the Surgery Pre-Admission Center at OSF Saint Francis
Improving Safety for Those with Medical Implants
About seven years ago, an anesthesiologist approached nurses, Jill Teubel and Mary Marvin, with a problem. The surgery department at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center was routinely cancelling and delaying elective procedures for patients with electronic medical implants.
“Many of these types of devices react negatively to the electrocautery tools used in surgery,” said Jill, MSN, RN, clinical nurse educator for the Surgery Pre-Admission Center at OSF Saint Francis. “As a result, these medical implants come with their own set of instructions for use, and clinicians need that knowledge to protect both the implant and person undergoing an operation.”
Jill and Mary took on the challenge by reaching out to every company manufacturing medical implants, and pulling 50 to 100 pages of instructions for more than 60 implants. They then created a two-page laminated table that included an alphabetized database of all of the devices by company, and organized guidelines on how to prepare patients for surgery, operation protocols and contact information for company representatives. The table was placed in every operating room within the hospital.
“We had one place for this information that was easily accessible to our surgery teams, but every time we had an update we had to pull all of the copies from OR rooms and replace them with new ones,” said Mary, CNS, APN, Department of Surgery at OSF Saint Francis. “As the medical device industry continues to boom, our document quickly grew from two to 38 pages of content.”
In 2019, Jill and Mary decided they needed to do something more with the device table to make it more manageable and scalable. As a result, they went to the OSF Innovation Studio, a group dedicated to bringing Mission Partner ideas to fruition, for help.
From Paper Database to Web-Based App
Jill and Mary already had a vision for taking their paper-based table and converting it into a digital format. They prototyped this idea by transitioning the database to a spreadsheet that was uploaded into the OSF Saint Francis intranet for anyone on the surgical team to use.
“That made the table easier to access, but surgical clinicians still had to scroll through 88 pages of material to get the device information they needed,” Jill said. “We wanted to create something that was simpler to use, but didn’t know how to get there.”
In pitching the idea to the OSF Innovation Studio, Jill and Mary shared the work they had done as well as a working prototype.
“We learned that Jill and Mary’s concept has gained traction among clinicians at various nursing conferences across the nation, and that there really isn’t anything like this on the market,” said Nathan Pritzker, a strategic program manager for the OSF Innovation Studio. “That gives it great potential for commercialization.”
Over 18 months, Jill and Mary worked with the OSF Innovation Studio to build and test several designs. The innovation team also connected the inventors to a local company to build a final web-based application, called the Implantable Device Matrix.
“The OSF Innovation Studio helped us build what we envisioned. When you pull up the app, you sign in and it’s just two clicks,” said Jill. “You click the device you want, you click on the affiliated company and then all of the information is right at your fingertips. You no longer have to scroll through 88 pages to find what you need.”
The surgical department within OSF Saint Francis is now using the Implantable Device Matrix app on a regular basis. Over nine months, surgical advanced practice nurses and surgery pre-admission center nurses were able to make the necessary arrangements for 17 pacemakers and 12 automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators (AICDs) ahead of time for hospital patients undergoing surgery.
During that same time period, surgical advanced practice nurses and surgery pre-admission center nurses were able to address the needs for 129 pacemakers and seven AICD before patients underwent outpatient operations. The ability to prepare for certain implantable devices ahead of surgery means fewer delays and cancellations, better patient satisfaction and improved workforce commitment for anesthesia providers, surgeons and surgery staff.
The OSF Innovation Studio is helping Jill and Mary with the opportunity to file a provisional patent on their idea. And plans continue to move forward to commercialize the application.
“We are blown away at how the OSF Innovation Studio has helped us get our device table to a web app format,” said Mary. “Jill and I are very patient oriented and passionate about patient safety. If our device table gets sold to other hospitals, it’s a huge win for us knowing they can use this to safely perform procedures on patients with certain implantable devices. At the same time, we are helping to keep hospital resources viable.”
Both Jill and Mary encourage other Mission Partners to follow in their footsteps.
“Our front line clinicians have so many good ideas out there,” said Jill. “We are a testimonial that with the right coaching and resources, you can turn your idea into a viable product that can benefit not just our patients but those around the country.”