News Release

PHILADELPHIA — Two teams of employees were selected as winners in Penn Medicine's first employee "Your Big Idea" Innovation Tournament for projects aimed at improving the patient and caregiver experience at Penn Medicine. The winning projects include an online appointment scheduling program as well as kiosks to help patients and visitors navigate their way to appointments and through the hospital. Throughout the five-month long tournament, teams of employees crafted business plans and pitches, working with experts from the Wharton School, culminating with presentations in front of Penn Medicine Leadership last week. The winning ideas will be funded by Penn Medicine and piloted by an implementation team which includes the employees who submitted the winning ideas and other subject matter experts from throughout the organization.

The 2012 "Your Big Idea" Penn Medicine Innovation Tournament winning ideas include:

  • MyPenn Scheduler, an interactive website where patients can schedule appointments directly online with various providers (doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, case managers, etc.) at various sites across the University of Pennsylvania Health System. The website may provide information on the provider, pre-visit questionnaires, maps and directions to the hospitals, and what patients need to bring to their appointments (medications, CDs with outside studies, etc). For Emergency Department patients or inpatients being discharged from the hospital, a care team member could help schedule an appointment before patients are discharged from the hospital.
  • Patient Service Kiosks, modeled after airline kiosks, enable the patient to check in and register for their appointment as well as update information in their electronic health record. Additional benefits of the kiosks include on-the-spot co-pay payments, interactive maps, and translation capabilities.

"The Innovation Tournament engaged nearly a third of our nearly 16,000 person workforce," said Judy L. Schueler, vice president of Organization Development & Chief Human Resource Officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System. "Faculty and staff either submitted or rated an idea. The level of engagement is a tribute to the men and women of Penn Medicine who dedicate their talents each and every day to improve the patient experience."

"In our outpatient practices, we see that delays at the front desk cause unnecessary frustration and that interactions prior to seeing the physician/provider can set the tone for the outpatient appointment," said Leslie A. Allen, leader of the Patient Service Kiosk team and senior practice administrator in the Department of Medicine's divisions of Renal, Electrolyte and Hypertension, and Infectious Disease. "I submitted the idea one afternoon in between tasks and never thought submitting an idea would develop into all of this."

"The quantity and the quality of the ideas we received exceeded our most optimistic forecasts," said Christian Terwiesch, PhD, professor of Operations and Information Management in the Wharton School. "The tournament ended up being more than just an idea management process — it released an enormous amount of creative energy and enthusiasm which left a true mark on the organization"

"The rapid mobilization of Penn Medicine resources to test the winning ideas is one of the great outcomes of the Innovation Tournament," said Kevin Mahoney, senior vice president and Chief Administrative Officer. "The future will require us to be nimble, take risks and continuously adapt our processes. The pilot testing of the winning ideas will engage campus resources from Information Technology, Organization Development, Clinical Practices, Patient and Family Advisory Councils and Program Evaluation, as well as the Innovation Tournament winning teams to ensure a successful implementation."

The first Penn Medicine "Your Big Idea" Innovation Tournament is part of an ongoing effort to share ideas across the University of Pennsylvania Health System. An online social network, called The Square, was recently launched and is currently in beta mode at Penn Medicine. The Square will help faculty and staff of Penn Medicine connect, collaborate, and share ideas beyond unit and departmental borders.

In addition to the two winners, a runner up team, "Their Big Idea," was also selected, to have another Penn Medicine Innovation Tournament in the future, where Penn Medicine patients are the contestants.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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