Innovation Grant Winners

2023/2024 Innovation Grant Projects and Award Amounts

PAMED awarded Innovation Grants to five members to fund projects that encourage, facilitate, recognize and reward innovative and creative approaches to the field of medicine. Grants were awarded through a competitive process requiring the submission of Letters of Intent and formal proposals. No individual grant proposal could exceed $100,000. All identifying information regarding the applicants, project sites, employers, etc. was redacted and not available to the Innovation Committee throughout the entire process, including review and scoring.

A Prospective, Single-Center Study to Measure Efficacy of ECGio in Determination of Coronary Artery Disease (PE-CAD)

Coronary Artery Disease_CovaleskyRecipient – Dr. Veronica Covalesky– Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia
Grant amount - $100,000

Project Goal – to evaluate the effectiveness of the ECGio algorithm in predicting clinically significant coronary artery disease (CAD). ECGio’s diagnostic performance during the trial will be compared against the results of myocardial perfusion imaging and calcium scoring as comparative references.

Project Summary – The study will be a prospective cohort analysis of patients who are under suspicion of CAD. Patient history will be analyzed to ensure that they have recently undergone a resting 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) within 60 days of additional diagnostic testing. Based on a site-reading of the patient MPI, the patient may be referred to invasive coronary angiography (ICA), coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), other diagnostic testing, or to the testing pathway exit. This study will focus on those that are referred for coronary angiography. Within the study the ability of ECGio to measure the presence and severity of coronary artery disease within the 4 primary coronary vessels will be assessed. The ECGio algorithm is designed in such a way that it can be seamlessly integrated into network and practice EMRs where ECGs are stored digitally.


Automated Digital Solution for High-Quality Behavioral Health Treatment in the Primary Care Setting

Digital Behavioral Health_CrawfordRecipient – Dr. Mitchell Crawford – Sunflower Health, LLC

Grant amount - $100,000

Project Goal - creating an artificial intelligence program which integrates with the electronic medical record (EMR) to assist primary care providers in delivering behavioral healthcare.

Project Summary- Sunflower Health, LLC will develop a program that will be available throughout the patient visit, prompting the provider to make the correct behavioral health diagnosis by displaying the criterion in a non-intrusive and simplified checklist. The program will also suggest clarifying questions to help navigate the differences between diagnoses with overlapping symptoms such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. After the diagnosis is made by the provider, the program will analyze the EMR looking for key variables such as organ function and comorbid diagnoses. The program will use this information to reference evidence-based algorithms to output recommendations in real-time during the visit. These recommendations would include, but also far exceed, first-line treatments.


Oxygen-Releasing Therapy for Soft Tissue Reconstruction

Soft Tissue_FriedmanRecipient – Dr. Oren Friedman – Graftable, Inc.

Grant amount - $100,000

Project Goal - to develop a therapy to achieve better survival and function of autologous tissue transplants for reconstructive surgery, such as fat, skin, cartilage, or combinations of these tissues by generating oxygen-containing polymer microparticles that are stable in lactated ringers, exhibit controlled release of oxygen, and extend viability of primary human fat grafts in cell culture.

Project Summary - The project is the creation of oxygen microparticles to perfuse soft tissue grafts in the time between transfer and neovascularization, with fat grafts being the first application. The technology will prevent graft loss by delivering localized, doseable, sustained-release oxygen directly into tissues. This project has enormous potential to improve outcomes of diverse clinical applications, such as skin grafts, cartilage grafts, suture lines, local and free tissue flaps, and soft tissue trauma. The grant will be used to produce and characterize the prototype and achieve proof of concept data that will be critical for developing the therapy for clinical use.


Advancing Colorectal Cancer Equity through Systematic Screening: ACCESS

Colorectal Cancer_Raab

Recipient: Dr. Claire Raab – Temple University Hospital
Grant amount: $100,000

Project goal: to use an innovative intervention in colorectal cancer screening, fecal immunochemical testing (FIT), to reach the most vulnerable and minoritized populations who are impacted by access challenges.

Project Summary- Designed to meet patients where they are, while piloting collaboration across the hospital, the clinic, and community-based settings, ACCESS will provide readily available FIT test kits in established community settings, specialty ambulatory clinics, and throughout the hospital to historically marginalized patients. Educational videos on the importance of the FIT test and how to properly provide a sample will be created and shared widely. A centralized workforce of nurse navigators will be established. They will be responsible for providing clinical education directly to the patients, ensuring tests are completed and resulted, and when patients at above average risk are identified, scheduling them for a timely GI appt.

Mobile Ophthalmic Imaging for Older Adults

Ophthalmic Imaging_Waxman

Recipient: Dr. Evan Waxman – Eye and Ear Foundation, Inc.
Grant amount: $100,000

Project Goal – the implementation of a Mobile Ophthalmic Imaging Program. This program will utilize a fully equipped mobile eye exam room to provide an eye exam that includes a survey of vision-related symptoms, past ocular history including last eye exam, visual acuity, intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement, and imaging. Patients identified as at risk for glaucoma, wet macular degeneration, or diabetic retinal swelling will have OCT imaging. The exam will take about 15 minutes per patient.

Project Summary - The project will partner with elder care facilities in the Western PA area within areas of high concentration of underserved and high-risk older adults with unmet care gaps to provide care to where they live. Examples include Vintage Senior Services, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, and UPMC Senior Communities. Staff at these facilities will select patients to be examined based on criteria provided by the program. Once the patient is examined, Images will be uploaded to the UPMC electronic health record and forwarded to the UPMC telemedicine facility. Vision Institute physicians will interpret the images and generate a report documenting findings, diagnoses, and recommendations. The report will be communicated back to the patient, their PCP, and the facility. Patients, PCPs, and elder care facilities will be responsible for coordinating the referral process for patients who need further eye care services. Processes will be put in place to streamline making appointments with UPMC Vision Institute providers when needed.


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