Innovation Pilot Award Winners

Each year, the Center offers internal pilot funding to UNC Health Care and UNC School of Medicine employees for health care innovations across a broad spectrum of interest areas including innovative care delivery models and care pathways, new technologies, new applications, advanced analytics, business model innovations, workforce development, and translational research. Since introducing the Innovation Pilot Awards in 2013, the Center has awarded 17 teams over $865,000 total to support innovative pilots.

2017

PI: Austin Rose(Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery) Co-PI: Henry Fuchs (Computer Science) Co-PI: Jan-Michael Frahm (Computer Science)
Leveraging the rapidly developing technology known as augmented reality, this team will develop an augmented reality system for use in both open and endoscopic surgery. Augmented reality is defined as a live direct or indirect view of a physical environment whose elements are augmented by the fusion of computer-generated and real-time images. This augmented reality environment for the operating room would allow for localization of a patient's specific pathology and normal anatomic landmarks. The ability to super-impose the exact location and dimensions of an underlying tumor, for example, on a surgeon’s direct view of the patient promises to positively impact both efficiency and patient safety in the operating room.
PI: Spencer Dorn (Gastroenterology) Co-PI: Larry Klein (Cardiology)
This team will develop and implement Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) services at UNC to power a model that predicts the likelihood a patient will attend an appointment and a companion app that uses that model to optimize how patients are scheduled for gastrointestinal procedures (e.g., colonoscopies and upper endoscopies). UNC will gain infrastructure and experience with a single open-standards-based pipeline for data integration, standardization, and access to solve focused research and clinical problems. No-shows to gastroenterology procedure appointments are especially costly given the high demand for these appointments and significant fixed resources required to deliver these services. The app will combine patient-reported and clinical data to optimize how patients are scheduled and prepared for these procedures.
PI: Claire Farel (Infectious Diseases) Co-PI: David Weber (Associate CMO)
Building on the back of UNC Infectious Disease’s Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy (OPAT) Program, ID DOOR will positively disrupt the workflow surrounding hospital discharge for Infectious Disease patients at high risk of adverse outcomes, suboptimal completion of a therapeutic plan, and readmission. ID DOOR will expand access to clinical pharmacist outpatient services post-discharge to ensure medication safety, fidelity to discharge planning and to address any medication side effects. The pharmacist will work closely with UNC’s transition of care team as well as OPAT providers and the program is expected to improve safety, clinical efficiency, patient access, patient satisfaction, and clinical outcomes.
PI: Dan Kaufer (Neurology/Psychiatry) Co-PI: Philip Sloane (Family Medicine/Geriatrics)
This pilot study will assess the feasibility and validate core components of an integrated pathway for centralized web-based remote cognitive screening, triage, and follow-up neurocognitive assessment for positive screens in primary care. Two computer-based screening assessment tools for neurocognitive disorders will be developed and validated as part of patients’ annual Medicare Wellness Visits completed in primary care. CMS requires cognitive screening to be part of the annual wellness visits but there is no widely accepted standard protocol. This project lays the foundation for transforming memory care from “passive referral” to an “active triage” model and helps primary care providers identify appropriate patients for referral to specialty care.


2016 

PI: Carlton Moore (General Internal Medicine) Co-PI: Brian Moynihan (Health Sciences Library)
The Carolina Digital Health Research Initiative (CaDHRI) will provide a catalyst for disruptive innovation in digital health research at UNC. The CaDHRI will support digital health researchers through consultations, digital device lending, and events. The program will create a comprehensive digital health device collection housed at the Health Sciences Library. This device collection will be available for researchers to test the devices and applications, as well as, incorporate the devices into their research. In addition to the device collection, the CaDHRI will also host a series of digital health workshops, seminars, and speakers.
PI: Samantha Meltzer-Brody (Psychiatry) Co-PI: Patrick Sullivan (Genetics/Psychiatry)
The team will build upon the success of the recently launched PPD ACT iPhone app which was developed to engage women in a genetics research study about postpartum depression (PPD). The study, which enrolled over 10,000 women in the first month, aims to help researchers understand why some women suffer from PPD and others do not – critical knowledge to help researchers find more effective treatments. Specifically, the team will enhance the functionality of the pre-existing app by adding innovative, clinically relevant enhancements including the ability to track and display self-reported symptoms and physiological data captured via wearable devices. The app will be able to deliver education about PPD, send participants feedback based on trends in daily assessments, and allow users to participate in a PPD online-community. The team will conduct pilot testing of the app in women with PPD at UNC, and data collected and displayed via the app will be used in the evaluation and delivery of personalized treatment for these patients.
PI: John VaValle (Cardiology) Co-PI: Cassandra Ramm (Cardiology)
UNC Cardiology will partner with a well-established primary care office to improve the detection and treatment of aortic valve disease in the community and the surrounding area. In order to accomplish this goal, PCP's will be trained and empowered to use hand-held ultrasound units to perform bedside cardiac ultrasound screenings for aortic valve disease and will partner with UNC Cardiology in Chapel Hill to confirm the diagnosis, complete the evaluation, and establish a treatment plan.


2015

PI: Debbie Travers (Department of Emergency Medicine) Co-PI: Abhi Mehrotra (Department of Emergency Medicine)
The Emergency Department currently employs a 5-point Emergency Severity Index (ESI) scale to triage patients; however, the rating tool groups over half of the UNC patients into the “3 – urgent” category without further specificity. Using innovative advanced analytics, this project seeks to expand and enhance the existing scale by identifying the predictors of complexity of acuity among patients currently grouped in the ESI 3 category and develop novel operational strategies using the new classification.
PI: Anil Gehi (Department of Medicine, Cardiology) Co-PI: Kevin Biese (Department of Emergency Medicine)
Although it is common for AF patients who present at the ED to be hospitalized, management of AF symptoms rarely requires inpatient resources. This project aims to reduce unnecessary hospitalization by implementing and evaluating a new protocol-based care pathway for AF patients who present at the ED, directing those without complications to an AF Transitions Clinic staffed by clinical pharmacists and overseen by Cardiology and Electrophysiology. The Transitions Clinic will provide patient education, and multidisciplinary care coordination of AF and comorbidities. The clinic will also ensure communication with the patients’ primary care provider and schedule follow-up appointments.


2014 

PI: Scott Hultman (Surgery, Plastic) Co-PI: Bruce Cairns (Surgery, Burn)
To evaluate the efficacy of existing hypertrophic burn treatment options in a prospective, randomized, controlled, single-blinded trial, compared to medical therapy alone, and determine the feasibility of a SMART (Sequential, Multiple Assignment, Randomized Trial) design in burn patients.
PI: Craig Buchman (Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery) Co-PI: Douglas Fitzpatrick (Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery) Co-PI: Christopher Giardina (Biomedical Engineering)
To optimize speech outcomes with cochlear implants by measuring and monitoring cochlear function during implantation.
PI: Robert “Matt” Coward (Urology) Co-PI: Paul Dayton (Biomedical Engineering)
To build and validate a new low-cost prototype ultrasound system designed specifically for penile and scrotal imaging that will expand the existing advantages of ultrasound and is more easily deployed to, and used at, a wide range of clinics and hospitals.
PI: Samantha Meltzer-Brody (Psychiatry) Co-PI: Celeste Mayer (UNC Health Care Legal)
To develop and measure the impact of a peer support program to provide evidence-based, compassionate and timely peer support to UNC caregivers involved in adverse patient events.


2013

PI: Arlene Chung (Pediatrics)
To develop a proto-type of a patient portal that is easily comprehended and organized in a way that is meaningful to patients.
PI: Lukasz Mazur (Radiation Oncology) Co-PI: Prithima Mosaly (Radiation Oncology) Co-PI: Bhishamjit Chera (Radiation Oncology) Co-PI: Lawrence Marks (Radiation Oncology)
To create an infrastructure to objectively assess workload and performance for providers performing routine clinical tasks that require human-computer interactions.
PI: Stacey Sheridan (General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology)
To develop and test an EHR-based CHD prevention program to promote CHD risk calculation, appropriate prescribing and patient adherence to prescribed medications
PI: Dana Neutze (Family Medicine)
An innovative approach to training certified medical assistants in the team-based concepts behind patient centered medical homes.


Archived 2017 Request for Proposal