Transplant, Prenatal Care Projects Earn Top Awards at Inaugural Innovation Competition

Surprise twist moves entire field of finalists forward toward project implementation

During an event described by top academic health system leadership as “way cool,” telehealth projects focused on reducing readmissions after transplant and providing early and better prenatal care in underserved populations took top honors.

The two teams—one led by Shimul Shah, MD, UC associate professor of surgery and UC Health transplant surgeon; and the other led by Carri Warshak, MD, UC associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the Fetal Ultrasound Center at UC Medical Center—were each awarded $20,000 at the inaugural Care Delivery Innovation Competition Thursday, Nov. 19.

In a surprise twist, UC Health President and CEO Richard Lofgren, MD, and UC Senior Vice President for Health Affairs and College of Medicine Dean William Ball, MD, announced at the competition’s end that they will fund all four of the projects presented at the 2015 telehealth-focused event.

Co-sponsored by UC Health and the UC Academic Health Center, the Care Delivery Innovation Competition was designed to showcase successes in care delivery innovation and to drive, recognize and reward novel ideas throughout our academic health system. Finalists made it through two earlier elimination rounds to get to the November competition event.

Shah and team will use their award to lead a project aimed at improving the care of transplant patients once they’ve been discharged from the hospital, with the overall goal of reducing hospital readmissions within the first 90 days post-transplant. They plan to provide transplant patients with technologies designed to track things like vital signs and medication adherence, and offer patients the ability to communicate in real time with transplant clinic clinicians if concerns arise. Collaborators on this project come from UC’s College of Medicine (digestive disease and general internal medicine); UC College of Nursing; and Care Innovations, a GE and Intel company.

Warshak and team will use their award to implement a community-based program of providing prenatal ultrasounds in urban underserved areas—through community women’s health centers—and offering real-time consultation with maternal-fetal medicine physicians when needed. The goal of the project is to get pregnant patients earlier and more convenient access to recommended prenatal imaging and care. Collaborators on this project come from UC’s College of Medicine (obstetrics and gynecology) and Women’s Health Services at UC Medical Center.

0015Other finalists in the Nov. 19 competition included a team led by UC College of Nursing faculty Debi Sampsel, DNP, chief officer of innovation and entrepreneurship and Tamilyn Bakas, PhD, RN, Jane E. Procter Endowed Chair and Professor. Sampsel and Bakas proposed the use of telehealth robots to assist seniors desiring to age in place. A team led by Stephanie Dunlap, MD, UC associate professor of medicine and medical director of the UC Medical Center Heart Failure Program, sought funding to provide in-home, real-time monitoring for heart failure patients to prevent hospital readmissions.

For more information about the competition, contact Pamela Kimmel, UC Health’s director of telehealth, at 513-520-3716 or

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