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And the Winner is

A wearable device tracking postpartum hemorrhage was awarded $10,000 in funding as the winner of the 2021 Innovation Accelerator.
Problem:

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 detection—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?

Solution:

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 entrepreneur— she has a Master’s in Nursing from Drexel University with a concentration in nursing entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as experience founding three businesses—she knew she could do something about it.

Modri’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 Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences with prior published work on wearables that detect slow hemorrhages after cardiac surgery. Building on Weimer’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 Nursing’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 Modri’s team to begin a proof of concept pilot study. The data collected will, Modri noted, “allow us to look for a tipping point—more postpartum blood loss than a woman can handle—and what that looks like in collected data.” 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, “As 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.”

Penn Nursing’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.