Roy S. Small, M.D.

When he worked in the cath lab, Roy S. Small, M.D., routinely came up with ideas to make his job easier.

But he lacked the time and resources to actually implement those ideas.

Physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses and others who are directly involved in healthcare delivery are in the best position to see deficits and possible solutions, Dr. Small said. However those possible solutions rarely advance past the idea stage.

“Every physician in the hospital can give you a dozen ideas to make patient care better, safer or more efficient,” he said.

“But there is no time or incentive to pursue those ideas.”

LG Health providers now have direct access to Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Care Innovation, which develops, tests and implements new strategies and products to help reimagine healthcare delivery for better value and patient outcomes.
“Now we are able to utilize all of Penn’s resources, which are tremendous,” Dr. Small said. “Instead of the idea dying because you don’t have the time and resources to pursue it, this is a way to make it real.”

Dr. Small, previously an interventional cardiologist, now specializes in heart failure with The Heart Group. As Medical Director of Clinical Research at LG Health’s Research Institute, he serves as a liaison between physicians and research staff, and helps select and design research studies and clinical trials. 

As part of his role in the research program, Dr. Small has facilitated development of pathways LG Health providers can utilize to participate in Penn’s innovation program. LG Health providers now can leverage Penn’s expertise to help develop their ideas.

Existing Penn infrastructure allows efficient product development, with minimum time and financial commitment. Policy agreements are in place to protect intellectual property and ensure that all parties are fairly compensated.

“There really isn’t anybody who loses here,” Dr. Small said. “This is good for the provider whose idea is created and produced. Advances in medicine help patients. And a lot of ideas improve quality and safety, which is good for the healthcare system.”

LG Health providers also are encouraged to enter the annual AppItUP competition, a mobile application idea challenge that connects the best app ideas from the Penn community to funding and technical expertise to make them a reality.

Innovation is important philosophically, Dr. Small said, because it offers a break from the routine of daily practice and helps providers grow and pursue their interests and passions. Innovation also helps LG Health maintain a competitive edge in the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

“Innovation is critical to the survival of this hospital and all hospitals,” he said. “We can’t keep doing what we did yesterday.

“The winners are going to be the ones who can change their practice to make it more effective, more efficient, safer and with better quality.”

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