Reflects on 2021 | OSF HealthCare

It’s easy to think that not much has changed since the first launch of COVID-19. The virus still kept many people at home for the past year. Cases continue to fluctuate. And it does not look like the disease will leave us in the near future.

But we also have many things to celebrate. Countless people around the world have been vaccinated. A majority of the children are back in school. And several individuals have gone back to visiting family, traveling and living as close to the usual as they can.

As 2021 draws to a close, we want to reflect on the projects our teams within OSF Innovation have achieved to transform education, care and services into this new normal. They are accomplishments that will better help our communities and the people we serve.

Hospital at home

In the early months of COVID-19, OSF Innovation executives had foresight to consider how the virus would affect hospital care. With that came an interdisciplinary team with an idea to help OSF HealthCare treat both COVID-19 patients and non-COVID hospital patients at home. Using an agile approach to project management, the group designed OSF Digital Hospital at Home and the Acute COVID @ Home programs to treat people using video conferencing and other technology. The experience from this project has been transferred to OSF OnCall Digital Health for further development. You can read more about this story here.

Dealing with inequality in health

While OSF Innovation is working on a series of projects to improve community health services and wellness outcomes in Chicago’s most underserved communities, we want to celebrate two initiatives launched this year. First, OSF HealthCare announced a partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) to establish the Community Health Advocacy (CHA) program. The grant program will fund projects between the UIC faculty and OSF Mission Partners that address health and wellness challenges in urban communities. Read the full story here.

OSF also announced a partnership with Sustainable Wellness through Innovation, Technology, & Collaborative Health, an organization launched by City Tech Collaborative (City Tech). As part of the collaboration, SWITCH and OSF HealthCare are exploring the possibility of expanding and commercializing OSF CommunityConnect (OCC), a software platform to improve access to health care, education and disease prevention in the Chicago area. It is also being used in collaboration with the Medicaid Innovation Collaborative to create solutions that improve access to and quality of care for Medicaid patients across the state. Learn more about this partnership here.

Bringing Mission Partner ideas to life

OSF Innovation Studio was launched to help Mission Partners bring their healthcare solutions to life and ultimately to the market. OSF Innovation Studio has received more than 125 concepts since 2019, and some have gone on to fully unveil inventions or the commercialization process. Nearly twenty are on their way through a product development process. And OSF Innovation Studio has filed its first non-provisional patent in the United States, Canada and Europe.

A solution that the team is helping to commercialize has been developed by two OSF nurses. They created a table of medical equipment that surgical teams use to retrieve implant information they may need during surgery.

In a year and a half, OSF Innovation Studio helped the small team refine their concept into a web-based application that enables a more robust and editable database. Surgical teams within OSF Saint Francis now use the Implantable Device Matrix app on a regular basis. The inventors are working with OSF Innovation Studio on the possibility of filing a preliminary patent on their idea. And there are plans for commercialization. See our case study on this story here.

Adapting to changes in education

Jump Simulation Mission Partners did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to ensure clinicians and students got the practice they needed to meet the training and continuing education requirements of COVID-19. It included brainstorming ways to deliver quality learning opportunities while complying with restrictions and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Led by simulation specialists, they developed on-site learning protocols, adopted digital platforms and used teleconferencing to serve as many students as possible – all without sacrificing the world-class learning experiences we are known for. Take a look at some of actions Jump train to continue to provide world-class education.

Mapping the future of neuroscience

Managers at OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute wanted a clear vision for the future of their service line. As a result, the group worked with Performance Improvement to map the next seven to ten years of the Neurosciences Service Line using the future back-strategy process. This approach allows an organization to define its future and then work backwards to implement the necessary actions to follow that path. Learn more about this process here.

Looking forward to next year

We are likely to notice the sustained effects of COVID-19 well into 2022. That paired with the need to address ongoing and new challenges will require us to develop a multi-year strategy.

Over the next year, we will develop a future back plan that will guide our future endeavors. In the meantime, we equip our mission partners with the skills they need to design our future.

We build competencies to ensure that we solve the right problems and deliver the right solutions. And we embrace new approaches to solving our most complex problems.

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