Innovation at Work: Bringing New Ideas to Life

Innovation at Work: Center for Health IT Innovation
Clinical, research, administrative, IT and commercialization experts are creating new tools, apps and entire systems.

With an increasing emphasis on value, a shift from inpatient to outpatient care, and changes in reimbursement structures requiring providers to take on more risk, hospitals have a growing need to reduce readmissions and deliver better care at lower cost. Leaders of the North Shore-LIJ Health System are thinking creatively when it comes to accomplishing these goals.

Drawing expertise from five key areas across the health system — clinical, research, administrative, information technology (IT) and commercialization — the newly launched Center for Health IT Innovation is working to take pioneering IT ideas and make them a reality. Whether it’s a new tool, mobile app or entire technology system, North Shore-LIJ now has the infrastructure to integrate and implement health IT solutions for administrative and clinical challenges.

From conception to commercialization, including funding, development, piloting, scaling and implementation, the Center for Health IT Innovation manages the entire process. The new entity is part of North Shore Ventures, the health system’s corporate venturing arm. It was established in 2013 to identify and foster ground-breaking ideas that can engage patients and enhance the growth of North Shore-LIJ enterprises.

The Center for Health IT Innovation officially opened its doors in June, though the team had already been working on some new health IT projects prior to the formal launch.

The Lenox Hill NS app is one of the first ideas developed by the Center for Health IT Innovation.

Lenox Hill Hospital’s David Langer, MD, director of neurosurgery, and Kenneth Court, director of neurosurgery IT, came up with the concept. A new company called Cirrus Health will commercialize the app as it develops.

After beta-testing this spring, a Lenox Hill NS app pilot study began with about 100 patients in Lenox Hill Hospital’s Division of Neurosurgery. Once the two-month trial winds up, the development team will refine the product. Then the Center for Health IT Innovation will roll out the Lenox Hill NS app to other Lenox Hill service lines whose patients are at the highest risk of readmission: orthopedics, cardiovascular and oncology.

Full-scale deployment to the health system of Lenox Hill NS app is expected in about two years. The exciting last step in the process will be to commercialize the product outside of the health system.

Another project is evaluating different technologies to provide real-time, texting-based patient feedback on two simple queries: “likelihood to recommend” and “comments.” Already in use at GoHealth clinics, this approach also enables service recovery and reporting/dashboards. A pilot at Lenox Hill’s Emergency Department (ED) is testing how real-time feedback can affect improvements to the ED fast-track well in advance of quarterly Press Ganey data.

Successful pilots for the Lenox Hill NS app and other projects can open up the potential of expanding use through contracts with third-party payers.

The commercialization of such tools not only can provide a revenue stream for North Shore-LIJ, said Tom Thornton, senior vice president of North Shore Ventures.

He added, “The overall infrastructure and innovative environment will enhance our position to compete for large health IT innovation funding opportunities from federal agencies focused on improving care quality. That, in turn, will benefit our patients.” 

Focus onHealth TV

Watch Focus onHealth, Northwell Health's TV show. It's the healthy way to stay informed!