A 3D-device to detect ulcers. And a new way to treat bleeding disorders. These are just some of the innovations coming out of Northwell Health’s 2021 Innovative Challenge, aimed at helping to improve healthcare.
Northwell Health is investing $1.3 million for research and development of projects, established by its employees, that could be healthcare game-changers.
The initiative is part of the healthcare system’s 2021 Innovative Challenge, an annual program launched five years ago that took 2020 off amid the height of the pandemic.
The winners of this year’s challenge brought two winners along with two runners up were announced earlier this week.
Through the internal competition, Northwell encouraged employees to bring forth their ideas, with the potential to receive funding. This year’s challenge drew 74 submissions in two categories, resulting in seven finalists.
“Innovation and creativity are the essence of good organizations who strive to excel and move forward,” Michael Dowling, Northwell Health president and CEO, said in a statement.
“We have a lot of innovation in the health system and these submissions are representative of what we’ve seen over the years at Northwell Health,” he added. “We started this Innovation Challenge five years ago and since then we have funded nine projects. At this moment, each one is on its way to commercialization.”
The care delivery category winner, “Use of Infrared Thermography (IRT) for Early Detection of Tissue Pressure Injury,” is developing a 3D device to facilitate early detection of various ulcers at Staten Island University Hospital. Alina Segal, a specialist physical therapist, and Anne Marie McDonough, senior director of Rehabilitation Medicine.
“This device will introduce a 3D capability to assist nurses and other clinicians in detecting, assessing and monitoring tissue pressure injuries,” Segal said in a statement. “It will also be a valuable tool for managing surgical wounds, diabetic foot ulcers and amputations, among many other uses.”
The science category winner, “Treating Bleeding and Bleeding Disorders via High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Stimulation of the Spleen,” is a project in collaboration with General Electric using a high intensity focused ultrasound stimulation of the spleen to treat bleeding and bleeding disorders. Dr. Jared Huston, vice chair for education and system chief for the Division of Surgical Education, is a lead researcher in the development of the device that can be worn on a belt and remotely stimulate clotting in the case of trauma, surgery, or other invasive procedures where blood loss could prove deadly.
“Currently, bleeding complications result in substantial morbidity and mortality across nearly every field of medicine and surgery,” Huston, an associate professor at the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, part of the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, said in a statement. “We are excited to move this potentially life-saving innovation forward with the goal of improving care for millions of patients.”
The runners up examine an artificial intelligence-driven algorithm that limits the need to wake hospitalized patients unnecessarily and a therapeutic drug candidate externally validated by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease as a potential treatment for HPV infection.
The winning teams were selected by the following panel of judges: Melynda Barnes, MD, chief medical officer at Ro; Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global and co-founder of HuffPost; Thomas Manning, executive chairman for the Northwell/Aegis Ventures AI Joint Venture; and Lonny Reisman, MD, founder and CEO of HealthReveal. The winners each earned $500,000 awards to bring their concepts to market. Two additional teams received $150,000 and will work with internal resources at Northwell to advance their ideas.
“Northwell has been able to tap into the ingenuity of our internal team members to identify solutions which can transform care and care delivery, and leverage expertise across the system to conduct proof of concept related to these innovations” said Richard Mulry, interim president and CEO of Northwell Holdings, Northwell’s for-profit arm. Northwell Holdings, which encompasses Northwell Ventures, manages a portfolio of 15 early-stage companies, invested in development of three medical devices created by Northwell physicians, advances the commercial potential for internal innovation and development of commercial joint ventures.