Healthcare Innovation Lab October 2020 Newsletter

Message From the Executive Director

Hi Lab friends-

One of the key ways we support innovation here at BJC/WUSM is through our Big Ideas innovation grant competition.  Each year, teams comprised of both WUSM faculty and BJC staff compete for $50,000 grants (jointly funded by the Lab and WUSM’s Institute for Informatics) to develop innovative, data-driven approaches to care delivery innovation.  We receive 40 applications each year and select the top 6 or 7 for funding.  In addition, we just completed a call for COVID-19 focused innovations and are pleased to announce the 2 winners in the newsletter article below.

The 2019-20 cohort of Big Ideas winners completed their grant funding this past summer, and recently shared their work with the Lab and the Institute for Informatics.  Their projects included: 
-Predictive analytics to proactively provide palliative care services for patients nearing the end of their life
-Predictive analytics to anticipate post-operative complications in surgical patients
-Wearables to detect recovery trajectories after pancreatic surgery
-Predicting sepsis in emergency department patients
-Voice assistants to locate hospital supplies
-Voice assistants to manage pre-operative stress

The 2020-21 cohort of Big Ideas winners have just begun their funding period, and we are looking forward to their work.  Their projects include: 
-Predictive analytics to detect clinical deterioration in oncology patients
-​Measuring physician burnout​ through assessment of EHR interaction and ordering patterns
-AI-enabled cognitive behavioral therapy​AI-enabled radiology image identification​Glucose monitoring to improve cognition in diabetics​
-Monitoring pollution with wearables to prevent asthma​ exacerbations
-Integrating social determinants of health data into diabetic care​ recommendations

As all of these projects clearly demonstrate, innovation and creativity are alive and well at BJC/WUSM!  If you have an idea for our next round of Big Ideas grants, please reach out to Victoria Fretty ( to learn more.
Be well,
COVID-19 Edition Big Ideas Updates

The Institute for Informatics (I2) and the Healthcare Innovation Lab have announced two winning teams in the special COVID-19 edition of the Big Ideas competition. Each will receive $50,000 in grant funding and will have 10 weeks to complete their COVID-19-related informatics and care delivery projects. Below is a brief summary of the winning projects.
The competition was judged by BJC HealthCare and Washington University School of Medicine leadership. The two winning teams were selected from a field of six, following final proposal presentations on Friday, October 23. 

The two teams will present their projects results in January of 2021.
The special COVID-19 competition runs alongside the main annual Big Ideas Competition cohort for 2020-2021. Teams within that cohort are making significant progress with their projects and will soon start preparing for their mid-point check-ins in early December. More updates on cohort progress will be coming soon.

Remote Patient Monitoring Update

The Lab has continued to engineer approaches for monitoring our patients while they are at home. Partnering with BJC Virtual Care, BJC Home Care, and the BJC Medical Group, The Lab has been working with an external vendor, Health Recovery Solutions (HRS), to implement a remote patient monitoring system for patients who may require additional connection with their clinical care teams from outside the walls of the clinics. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has punctuated the need to keep people out of the hospitals as much as possible. In early October, the BJC Home Care telemonitoring program began using HRS technology, measuring patient vital signs like blood pressure and symptoms from their home. Next, the BJC Medical Group will begin using the same technology to monitor their most at-risk patients, leading to intervention that could prevent them from ending up in the emergency department or hospital. We will be measuring the outcomes closely and apply our learnings to other organizations across the health system.

Healthcare Innovation Summit with GlobalSTL

The GlobalSTL Health Innovation Summit brings new digital health technologies to local health care organizations to create a competitive advantage and economic impact in St. Louis. The full strength of our region’s $262 billion health care industry is on display for 16 highly innovative digital health companies from Israel, Sweden, Germany and the US at the fourth annual Summit. Due to COVID-19 and different from years past, the Summit was hosted virtually over 12 days in October, with WUSM & BJC’s Healthcare Innovation Summit occurring on October 14th. The summit featured one-on-one curated meetings between eight startups and various stakeholders throughout the WUSM & BJC enterprise. The Healthcare Innovation Lab is evaluating, along with our stakeholders, interest in these top digital health companies from across the globe to address our strategic priorities to drive innovation in clinical care delivery models. You can read more about this innovation summit in the St. Louis Business Journal here.

NarrativeDx Insights

NarrativeDx’s proprietary artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology enables health systems to humanize comment data from patients and employees, translating massive volumes of critical feedback into actionable insights that can be used to transform the health care experience. As part of a proof of concept offer from NarrativeDx, and core to the Healthcare Innovation Lab’s due diligence process, NarrativeDx analyzed six BJC data sources with over 150K unique insights from consumer comments. Insights gathered from this proof of concept were assessed at the enterprise, hospital and medical group, unit and location, and provider level allowing our stakeholders to take a unique and focused approach to improve our areas of opportunity. The Healthcare Innovation Lab, along with key stakeholders throughout BJC, are evaluating the NarrativeDx platform to assist in our strategic priority of creating a consumer-centric approach in delivering high-quality care.

Congratulations to Dr. Bradley Fritz!

Dr. Bradley Fritz, who is completing an innovation fellowship with the Lab during the 2020-21 academic year, was recently awarded a $250,000 mentored research training grant from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research. He is one of five physicians nationwide selected for this award. Under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Avidan (Department of Anesthesiology) and Dr. Joanna Abraham (Department of Anesthesiology; Institute for Informatics), Dr. Fritz will be studying whether implementation of machine learning algorithms predicting postoperative complications can help anesthesiology clinicians more accurately identify during surgery which patients will experience these complications. Congratulations, Dr. Fritz!

Systems Sepsis Predictions

Improving sepsis care delivery and outcomes is important for both patients and the health system. Sepsis identification and treatment are time-sensitive, with early intervention improving meaningful outcomes. Healthcare Innovation Fellow Patrick Lyons, MD, MSc, an Instructor in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, has led our efforts to understand and evaluate vendor-provided sepsis detection and prediction models within the Epic electronic health record. Using sophisticated data analytics techniques, Dr. Lyons has delineated the prediction models’ performance, measured the advance notice provided by the models, and projected the number and accuracy of daily sepsis alerts across each of the BJC Hospitals using electronic health record data. Dr. Lyons and Brett Ramsey, MBA, are collaborating with the BJC System Sepsis Initiative to leverage this information into quality improvement, patient safety, and educational initiatives across our health system.

Congratulations to Dr. Ankit Bhatia!

Dr. Ankit Bhatia’s manuscript, “Remote Patient Monitoring in Heart Failure: Factors for Clinical Efficacy”, has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Heart Failure. Dr. Bhatia completed his Innovation Fellowship in June 2020. Congratulations, Dr. Bhatia!