Northwell Health’s 2021 Innovation Challenge Brings in Breakthrough Ideas From Employees
Northwell Health was proud to once again hold its annual Innovation Challenge after a one-year pause due to the pandemic. The competition encourages Northwell employees to be Truly Innovative by submitting ideas with the potential to change the future of medicine and patient care.
There were a variety of driving forces behind the decision to participate in this year’s challenge, but a few threads connected them all:
• The notion that there is always room for improvement
• The desire to improve treatments and experiences
• The knowledge that Northwell invests time and money into health care advancements
• The passion to do more for patients in need
There were two categories this year: Innovation in Science and Innovation in Care Delivery. Read about the top two ideas in each category and the inspiring Northwell team members who helped develop them.
Innovation in Science
The winning project for this category was “Treating Bleeding via Ultrasound Stimulation of the Spleen,” led by Jared M. Huston, MD, FACS, associate investigator at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. Asked about the medical impact of the project, Dr. Huston says, “We expect this innovation can decrease complications related to bleeding and improve outcomes for millions of patients.”
The category’s runner-up project was “Novel Stilbenes: Science against HPV,” led by Mario Castellanos, MD, associate chair of research in the Department of Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). Dr. Castellanos has been passionate about finding a therapeutic to treat cancer-causing HPV infections since his days as a medical resident at SIUH. “My passion for research and the patients I encountered in my medical practice drove me to want to do more for them.”
Innovation in Care Delivery
The winning idea in Care Delivery was “Infrared Thermography (IRT) for Early Detection of Tissue Pressure Injury,” led by Alina Segal, acute care physical therapist at SIUH, who says this project takes into consideration improved patient care and decreasing health care costs. According to Alina, “it may also be a valuable tool for managing surgical wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, burns and amputations, among other uses.”
The runner-up project was “Let Sleeping Patients Lie,” led by Theodoros Zanos, PhD, head of the Neural and Data Science Lab at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, who explains that his team, “developed an AI algorithm based on a large volume of Northwell clinical data to safely and accurately determine for each patient whether it is safe to forgo overnight vitals.”
Dr. Zanos says, the project’s impact could lead to “uninterrupted sleep to more than 50 percent of patient nights and improved patient experience and outcomes, shorter lengths of stay and reductions in clinician workload.”
We asked the winners and runner ups how Northwell prepared them for this big moment
Alina Segal says, “Northwell Health provides great educational opportunities and encourages personal growth.”
Dr. Zanos credits his preparedness to the support and leadership at the Feinstein Institutes. In combination with “a uniquely large and diverse clinical dataset,” leadership helped the team pursue this innovation.
Dr. Huston says his team benefitted from “the invaluable mentorship from many of our Feinstein Institutes and Department of Surgery colleagues.”
Dr. Castellanos cites the long history of support at Northwell for researchers, whether junior or seasoned. The kind of work that goes into developing new ideas in medicine often takes a lot of collaboration. “Northwell’s support facilitated key connections both within Northwell and externally, including the NIH, industry and the biotech communities.”
The sharing of ideas is embedded as an important part of the culture at Northwell. According to Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, “Innovation and creativity are the essence of good organizations who strive to excel and move forward.”
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