Innovators reduce adverse patient events through innovation

According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, the rising incidences of adverse patient safety events and cyber security risks are pushing the demand for innovative solutions in the health care industry as it affects millions of patients and imposes a significant cost burden to health care organizations annually.

The study found that some of the areas where the health care industry is looking to adopt innovative solutions include Medication Safety, Antibiotic Resistance, Patient Diagnostics Safety, Sepsis, Cyber-Security of Medical Devices, and Patient Data Privacy.

The Innovation Institute, a national health care incubator, is working with its six member owner health systems and other partners to bring these types of innovations to market. Some of these innovations have been created and designed by the medical staff at these health systems who work directly with patients every day and see firsthand where changes and improvements are in greatest demand. Our Innovation Lab (incubator) works with these medical professionals on the frontlines of patient care to turn their ideas into medical procedures and devices that are better and safer, sometimes even breakthrough and transformative. Many of these invention ideas are designed around reducing errors that cause patient harm.

Baywin Valve - Reduces Risk of Respiratory Infections

Take for example, the Baywin Valve, an invention conceived by pediatric cardiologist Harry Bayron, M.D. and respiratory therapist Neil Winthrop. They observed that patients who are intubated and ventilated are extremely sensitive to changes in airway pressure and pulmonary hygiene. Yet, it is often necessary to disassemble part of their respiratory support system (break the circuit), often causing secretions built up in the system to be catapulted into the air upon opening. This loss of pressure can result in alveolar collapse, hypoxemia and all the complications related to it, and exposes the patient to the possibility of ventilator-acquired pneumonia and the caregiver to contamination. Therefore, Bayron and Winthrop set out on a mission to develop a device that would help protect patients from the risk of airborne infections, cross contamination, loss of PEEP in the lungs, lung collapse and hemodynamic compromise -- issues that can be catastrophic for these vulnerable patients.

Together, they designed the BayWin Valve, a respiratory device that provides safer optimal inhalation velocity and can improve outcomes in the intensive care setting.

Approximately 40% or 1.65 million ICU patients are mechanically ventilated in the U.S. each year. Therefore, in collaboration with The Innovation Institute, we hope to get this product deployed across health systems by early next year. Our goal is that future long-term, multi-center studies on this device will show that mortality rates will be reduced as well as average patient hospital stays.

Error Reduction Mitigation Aide - Reduces Medication Errors and Needle Sticks

Another safety product called the Error Reduction and Mitigation Aide (ERMA) developed by a nurse anesthetist and mother is making its way into hospitals. Jean Snyder, DNAP, CRNA. Snyder noticed that anesthesia providers did not have a very good process or mechanism to safely quarantine vials and syringes during surgery. Therefore, she felt that a better mechanism was needed to safely retain these items in a transparent plastic container that allowed caregivers to see what was used during a surgery while keeping the needles and syringes where providers wouldn’t be at risk for needle sticks.

Jean developed an ERMA prototype and wrote a whitepaper discussing medication errors within the context of error-critical systems. She explained how ERMA was a means to provide early recognition to mitigate medication errors. When she submitted her whitepaper and prototype to The Innovation Institute, The Institute began to work with Jean to refine the device and obtain a provisional patent.

ERMA is a clear reservoir inserted between the re-entry proof top and opaque terminal disposal portion of a traditional needle box. It provides a practitioner in any high-risk area (OR, ED, ICU) a clear visual of all the syringes and vials used during the course of a procedure or surgery. At the end of a single procedure, a trap door in the bottom of the reservoir is released to allow those sequestered and accounted for vials and syringes to drop into the bottom of the needle box for terminal disposal.

Providers now have a way to see all medications delivered for an individual patient. ERMA provides redundancy in an error-critical system that makes medication delivery safer and reduces medication errors. It also allows providers the ability to recognize an error earlier and, in a best-case scenario, mitigate said errors.

AcesoCloud App - Reduces Sepsis Mortality Rates

The Innovation Institute is also deeply involved in developing apps to help protect and save patients from sepsis. Sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals and causes more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined. The cost to fight sepsis in the U.S. is between $30 to $50 billion annually. Therefore, we have forged a strategic partnership with AcesoCloud (, a cloud based sepsis care management and analytics platform to manage and treat sepsis patients effectively and maintain compliance.

The AcesoCloud platform provides rich analytics modules. These modules include SepsisAnalytics for mortality, care, cost and reimbursement; SepsisClock for 3 and 6 hour compliance and sepsis protocol. The tools provide care givers a plan to implement, manage and monitor patients with much needed insights into quality of care. AcesoCloud has helped hospitals decrease their sepsis mortality rates to lower than the national average, achieve significant reductions in average cost, and reduce length of stay in the ICU, without a significant dip in reimbursement.

What’s Next

Other products that improve safety and reduce risk are in development at our Innovation Lab. Within the next few years, as these new technologies are adopted, we are going to see the patient death rate decrease significantly.

Technological medical solutions are proliferating more than in any other period of time in our history. The changes coming are not incremental but exponential. Care delivery will change dramatically over the next decade with genomics and artificial intelligence and medical breakthroughs. 

If you have an idea that you believe would improve the safety of patient care, please visit our website and submit an idea. There is no cost and you could help save lives. Complete the Idea Submission Form here and someone will get back to you to follow up:

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