SUMMIT, NJ — A team comprised of two pharmacists, a pharmacy tech and a nurse at Overlook Medical Center were the collaborative brainchild behind the first innovation spawned by the Atlantic Health Advancements program, or AHa!, an initiative designed to be an innovation center and idea incubator that will inspire Atlantic Health System’s team of over 16,000 employees and 3,700 physicians to generate ideas that will enhance care delivery and improve clinical outcomes.
The Overlook team realized they were inadvertently wasting insulin because there was not a clear process in place for labeling and storing it between shifts, resulting in the need to continually open new insulin vials. The team developed the 'ISSI Box' (Insulin Safety Secure Initiative), a device that looks like a simple pill dispenser. Now, when nurses start their shift, they receive their own ISSI Box with four types of insulin, clearly labeled, making it more accessible and more easily tracked by pharmacy staff.
A three-month evaluation of the box showed a cost savings of over $25,000 at a single hospital, which could result in annualized savings of $100,000. The box was formally launched and is now available through Health Care Logistics and will be featured at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Clinical Meeting and Exhibition in Orlando, Dec. 3 - 7.
“Atlantic Health System is keenly aware of the rapidly changing health care landscape, and need to act quickly to find and implement solutions that — quite simply — will make it easier to deliver better patient care,” said Joe Wilkins, Senior Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, Atlantic Health System. “The people who understand this best are those who are on the front lines of care each day and night — our physicians, nurses and employees, and the ISSI Box is a perfect example of that. AHa! is a formalized way to collect their ideas, test them, and further hone them into tangible solutions to improve practice and outcomes.”
"It’s the day-to-day patient interactions that allow physicians to identify challenges that lead to innovative solutions,” said Dr. Harvey Gerhard, former medical staff president at Morristown Medical Center, and member of the division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. “AHa! will provide physicians and health care providers with the resources to develop ideas into solutions that can influence and change patient care delivery. AHa! offers a start-to-finish innovation process that could ultimately end with a commercialized product that changes the way medicine is practiced."
AHa! will give innovators access to best-in-class engineering and prototyping support, and will integrate four independent innovation management processes — recording and evolving ideas, training and supplying idea generators with the tools needed to convert ideas into products, using innovation-on-demand methodologies, and education on needs and demand — into one streamlined system.
Unlike more traditional “think tanks,” where only the top ideas are considered, AHa!’s diverse panel of experts comprised of experts from Atlantic Health System, universities, government labs, and private enterprises will evaluate each submission for further development.
“Atlantic Health System has always encouraged and enthusiastically supported its physicians to share their ideas about how to improve care delivery,” said Dr. Eric Whitman, medical director, Atlantic Health System Cancer Care. “Through AHa!, ideas are not only encouraged, but critically assessed, developed, and financially supported—ultimately fostering a culture of creativity and improved patient care. I have been fortunate enough to have my ideas become a reality through Atlantic Health System and AHa!.”
AHa! is designed to share with physicians, nurses and other employees who contribute to the creation of IP, a portion of the net proceeds from Intellectual Property that is commercialized, sold, assigned, or licensed to third parties. The remainder will continue to fuel Atlantic Health System’s mission of building healthy communities.
“We will soon be able to share the best practices and technology developed by Atlantic Health System employees and physicians with other health care facilities to help them improve patient care and affordability,” said Wilkins.