And the Winner is
14 million women worldwide experience postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) annually. It is the leading cause of maternal death globally, capable of killing within hours when blood losses go undetected due to insufficient methods of detectionâ€”and women of color are disproportionately affected. PPH is more likely with a cesarean birth (C-section), and with the rate of C-sections increasing from around six percent in 1990 to over 30 percent today, PPH deaths are rising, too. How can detection methods be modernized to identify PPH earlier and more reliably?
Working as an obstetrics nurse for over twenty years means that Stefanie T. Modri, RN, MSN, C-MNN, has seen her fair share of PPH. And as an entrepreneurâ€” she has a Masterâ€™s in Nursing from Drexel University with a concentration in nursing entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as experience founding three businessesâ€”she knew she could do something about it.
Modriâ€™s inquiries about options to develop a wearable device-specific to labor and delivery concerns led her to James Weimer, PhD, an Assistant Professor at Pennâ€™s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences with prior published work on wearables that detect slow hemorrhages after cardiac surgery. Building on Weimerâ€™s research, they developed the idea for the non-invasive PPH detection device that could track blood volume changes.
Modri, also a Penn Nursing Adjunct Professor, connected with Kimberly Trout, PhD, CNM APRN, Penn Nursingâ€™s Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Track, and Maggie E. Power, MSN CNM, WHNP, a Penn Medicine midwife and part-time Penn Nursing faculty member, to help prepare for the process of seeking early funding to further develop the PPHdetecting wearable.
Innovation Accelerator funding allows Modriâ€™s team to begin a proof of concept pilot study. The data collected will, Modri noted, â€śallow us to look for a tipping pointâ€”more postpartum blood loss than a woman can handleâ€”and what that looks like in collected data.â€ť The resulting detection software, they hope, will be compatible with various wearable devices, electronic medical record software, and a mobile app, making it globally accessible.
Modri said, â€śAs someone with a background in entrepreneurship and health, receiving Innovation Accelerator support and having an opportunity to be an agent of change is incredible. We are all so grateful.â€ť
Penn Nursingâ€™s Innovation Accelerator program prioritizes innovation and entrepreneurship, offering students and faculty an opportunity to compete for much-needed early stage seed funding to move inventive and ambitious products forward. In addition to providing up to $10,000 each year for projects, the winner(s) attend a 10-month accelerator program.