Robin Wood, PhD, RN
PHILADELPHIA—Robin Wood, PhD, RN, senior clinical director at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) Capacity Management Center and the Penn Medicine Transfer Center in the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), has been selected for the 2024 Carol Emmott Fellowship class by the Carol Emmott Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving gender equity in healthcare leadership and governance.
The foundation selects fellows for a 14-month program and supports them in designing and completing an impact project in their health communities. Fellows are also paired with mentors who are nationally recognized senior executives. Wood is among 24 fellows in the 2024 class, their largest class to date, with a range of disciplines within healthcare, from clinical care to financial analysis, data science, operations, and strategy.
For her fellowship project, Wood will explore the recent implementation of a practice at HUP through patients with similar medical conditions are treated in the same unit, under the same group of providers, called “geographic population cohorting.” There is limited research on this strategy, but existing research suggests benefits for both patients and providers.
While some patients at HUP, like those receiving care for cardiac or cancer diagnoses, are already treated with this method, patients admitted under the umbrella of Advanced Medicine: the hospitalist medicine service and subspecialty medical services (infectious disease, gastroenterology, or pulmonary) were scattered throughout HUP main. Wood’s team, in collaboration with numerous stakeholders, implemented geographic cohorting in the Spring of 2023. Early post implementation data has suggested a decrease in inpatient length of stay, decreased Emergency Department boarding, and a positive impact on team cohesion. With an eye for improving hospital operations, Wood will evaluate whether this strategy improves patient outcomes and experience, decreases length of stay, and enhances provider and nurse communication and teamwork. She will further explore methods to translate her research into practice and the potential for replication throughout the system.
“Improving the flow of a patient through the various stages of care in the health system is my passion in healthcare. The emergency department never closes its doors, and after 16 years as an ED nurse, I know first-hand about the complexities that arise in managing the unknowns in patient care, and the importance of thinking creatively about how to plan for these unknowns,” said Wood. “I’m excited to develop as a leader, as well as use my fellowship research to directly impact hospital operations, as well as influence decisions about how we improve patient care in the future.”
Wood began her career at Penn Medicine as a staff nurse in the ED at HUP in 2006. She held numerous in positions within emergency nursing, including the role of assistant nurse manager in 2013, nurse manager from 2014 until 2020, and then clinical director of Emergency and Observation Nursing from 2020 until 2022.
Wood was the nursing lead on the team that helped design the new emergency department at the Pavilion, coordinate new workflows, and also coordinate the move to the new space. She was the emergency department nursing lead for the transition of Mercy Philadelphia, the West Philadelphia community hospital, to HUP Cedar, an extension of HUP’s work in the city. Additionally, in August of 2021, Wood organized the nursing response from Penn Medicine for Afghan refugees who were welcomed to the United States at Philadelphia International Airport.
Her work in the Capacity Management Center has been focused on improvements in patient access, capacity management efficiency, and the prioritization of acute specialized populations in the Philadelphia. These efforts have translated into decreases in length of stay and emergency department boarding, among other metrics.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, excellence in patient care, and community service. The organization consists of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Penn’s Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school.
The Perelman School of Medicine is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $550 million awarded in the 2022 fiscal year. Home to a proud history of “firsts” in medicine, Penn Medicine teams have pioneered discoveries and innovations that have shaped modern medicine, including recent breakthroughs such as CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities stretch from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania to the New Jersey shore. These include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Health, Penn Medicine Princeton Health, and Pennsylvania Hospital—the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.
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