RalphThe line of descentfrom Benjamin Franklin to the Penn Medicine of today is a long and celebrated one.And you can be a part of it! Another opportunity to display your innovativethinking -- much as Dr. Franklin did -- is now in high gear.

The Your Big Idea Challenge encouragesmembers of the Penn Medicine community to propose ideas for improving operatingefficiencies and lowering costs … while of course maintaining the Pennhallmarks of excellence in patient care, research, and education.

Last year’s Your BigIdea -- our innovation tournament to improve the patient experience --proved so successful that we’ve brought it back in a new version this year. Nearlyone-third of our workforce took part in the 2012 tournament by submitting,commenting on, or rating ideas. This year we’re aiming to climb even higherthan that impressive participation rate.

We’re conducting theChallenge to help ensure that we retain our strong fiscal health inincreasingly difficult times. The health care industry nationwide is facinggrowing financial demands, and Penn Medicine is not immune from thesepressures. Lower governmental payments, fewer inpatient admissions, expected cutsin medical education and research funding, and growing information technology costsfor meaningful-use requirements are compelling health care organizationseverywhere to take new measures to adapt. In our case, the goal is clear andbasic: identify new cost-savings opportunities so that we can continue toreinvest in the future of Penn Medicine.

Whether it’s performing procedures more wisely and efficiently,using less-costly supplies, or making the best use of technology -- and almostanything in between -- we welcome all ideas to help improve value whilecontinuing Penn’s best-of-class standard.

Here’s a summary of how YourBig Idea works (full details are available at http://bigidea.med.upenn.edu).

First, identify your best idea (or ideas) for increasingvalue while preserving quality. Next, complete the short form on the website.Ideas will be rated by your colleagues on the Your Big Idea website. Thoseratings, along with the evaluation of an official review team, will determinewhat happens next. Ideas willbe pegged as a quick fix (can be easilyimplemented with immediate savings opportunities); commissioned idea (shows promise but needs further developmentand coordination to recognize savings potential); or prove us wrong (doesn’t appear to have savings potential but we’dwelcome additional evidence). Results will be announced the week of June 24th.

The Challenge is being conducted in the same spirit as lastyear: having fun while achieving a serious purpose. So once again we’ll berandomly awarding great prizes such as Phillies and Art Museum ticketsto people who submit ideas. 

As you probably know, last year’s winning ideas, patientservices kiosks and myPenn Scheduler, are both in operation today. Just asimportantly, we’re also implementing dozens of other ideas, includingelectronic paychecks and blanket warmers for chemotherapy patients. So if youridea is sound, you can be sure we’ll figure out a way to make the most potentuse of it.

I’m confident thatthe Your Big Idea Challenge willgenerate the freshness of thought and vision for which Penn Medicine is so wellknown. The deadline is June 7th. I can’t wait to read yoursuggestions.

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