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From Jan Bergen, President & CEO

You have so many great ideas. But making those ideas a reality isn’t always easy.

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health actively pursues innovation to improve our patients’ outcomes and experiences, and to lower health-care costs. Unfortunately, limited funding, time and other barriers sometimes prevent a promising idea from making a larger impact.

The Innovation Accelerator Program is just one example of our ongoing efforts to support innovation throughout LG Health and the entire Penn Medicine system. The program offers funding, mentorship, project management and additional support to help teams take their ideas from concept to reality.

The IAP began at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, where it has already advanced more than 30 projects tackling some of health care’s toughest challenges. I am very proud to share that two LG Health teams are currently testing their ideas with guidance and support from the Center for Health Care Innovation at LG Health.

Enhancing colorectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. With regular screening, it’s also preventable. Our LG Health Physicians practices currently screen 72.8 percent of eligible patients for colorectal cancer. That means that nearly 20,000 eligible patients have not been screened.

This project, led by Brian Young, M.D., Medical Director, Care Transformation and Primary Care, seeks to uncover, understand and overcome barriers to screening. The team hopes to increase the number of patients who are screened, leading to earlier detection and removal of precancerous polyps.

Assessing symptoms in oncology patients

Cancer patients often fight not only their disease but the side effects of treatment. Patients may not disclose significant side effects for fear that clinicians will alter or stop their treatment. Clinicians also may underestimate symptom severity.

Oncology Nurse Navigator Amy Jo Pixley and the project team seek to create a symptom assessment tool to significantly enhance the oncology team’s ability to control patients’ symptoms, improve quality of life, and reduce unnecessary Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations.

The Innovation Accelerator Program’s testing phase will end this spring. At a special “Pitch Day” event, both teams will present their proposals for beginning a formal pilot phase, with the ultimate goal of bringing their successful innovations into widespread use within our health system and beyond.

Please join me in supporting the exciting work of LG Health’s IAP teams and our Center for Health Care Innovation. Embracing innovation will enable us to solve the real problems we encounter every day—and ensure our continued success well into the future.

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