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The expansion of the Innovation Accelerator program supports stroke recovery and oncology treatment education solutions.

Inventive ideas transform health care—and Penn Nursing’s Innovation Accelerator program provides funding through its pitch event to winning teams for early-stage development and mentorship in a 10-month program. Now in its fourth year, the program continues to consider general health and health care concepts and has evolved to hear proposals in patient safety as well.

Health/Health Care Track Winner

PROBLEM: Stroke patients have a finite time period to engage in rehabilitation to optimize recovery, but a significant number of patients don’t adhere to physical therapy recommendations. Price barriers put high-quality rehab tools out of reach, and using lower cost tools that feel childlike may invoke shame—both are barriers to adequate therapy and can result in permanent and lifelong disabilities.

SOLUTION: Blossom—an affordable, easily-sanitized stroke recovery tool— combines the simplicity of a peg and board concept with Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging. The convertible “vase” offers a variety of base and stem insertion options, and the flowers come in differing sizes, weights, and balance points. This allows for customization to the level of physical therapy needed, encourages micro-movements, challenges small muscle groups, and develops cognitive associations. Blossom includes games and puzzles, and the potential exists for the development of a website or app to be updated with daily activities and challenges; additionally, new Blossom kits could be developed to support fine mobility rehab for patients with other conditions. The winning team is led by Penn Nursing undergraduate student Lynne Chow and then-Integrated Product Design graduate student Nika Coda, GEN’23; their team also includes Penn Nursing postdoctoral fellow Fanghong Dong, PhD.

The general health and health care innovations track is funded by Tom and Carolyn Bennett, Seth Ginns, C’00, and Jane Ginns and Andrea Laporte, Nu’69.The general health and health care innovations track is funded by Tom and Carolyn Bennett, Seth Ginns, C’00, and Jane Ginns, and Andrea Laporte, Nu’69.

Patient Safety Track Winner

PROBLEM: Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a confusing time. In the whirlwind of patients engaging with new care providers and learning about their cancer and its treatment, 80 percent of medical information learned after an initial oncology visit is forgotten. Patients often turn to Internet search engines to fill in the gaps, resulting in incorrect and incomplete information that can cause additional stress.

SOLUTION: The IMPACTT app provides accurate health care information and provider access to patients and their caregivers at a critical time: before treatment begins. The app helps users visualize the care continuum, from intake session through treatment, preparing patients for upcoming physical and mental demands. Structured touchpoints allow providers to see what patients understand about treatment, and the app may trigger calls to health care providers to improve patient health literacy. Proposed by Pennsylvania Hospital oncology nurse navigator Jennifer Polo, BSN, RN, OCN, and her team (including Penn Nursing alums Carrie Marvill MSN, RN, AOCNS, NE-BC, GNu’14, and Mary Pat Lynch, DNP, RN, AOCN, NEA-BC, GNu’89, as well as Lucy Walker Term Professor Sarah H. Kagan, PhD, RN, AOCN, GCNS-BC, FGSA, FAAN), the IMPACTT app contains a library of materials, including videos, images, reading, and surveys/questionnaires, as well as direct connections to a patient’s care team, something unique to the IMPACTT app. IMPACTT’s stem cell transplant module deployed in June 2023 at Pennsylvania Hospital, with additional modules in development. The app has the capability to be personalized for different oncology diagnoses and hospital systems.

The patient safety technology track is supported by the Patient Safety Tech Challenge.

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