Disrupting Healthcare with Nursing-Led Innovation at HIMSS19

“Power Lunch” for Nurses
Sponsored by BD

Kelly Robke, MBA, MS, RN
Vice President, Thought Leadership at BD

The half-day event at HIMSS19 kicked off with a Nursing Innovation Luncheon attended by 150 women and men from all aspects of the global nursing world. The luncheon was sponsored by BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a global medical technology company.

Kelly Robke, Vice President of Thought Leadership at BD, moderated a panel of respected thought leaders in the nursing profession. Robke has been a nurse for nearly 30 years and spent her career at the intersection of both medical product delivery and innovation and technology. She has watched technology in healthcare go from a novelty to an integrated tool in care delivery.

“At BD, we feel that nurses are natural innovators and we look for ways to support and extend their innovation capabilities -- not only through traditional channels like product development, but in how new innovation is commercialized, implemented, and educated,” says Robke. “This allows us to share knowledge with the broader community in HIMSS, including non-clinicians and non-nurses. That’s another area of interest and priority for BD, driving clinical collaboration as well as cross-functional operations, allowing for the best solutions to be developed in ways that improve patient safety and maximize productivity workflow to benefit the patient.”

Robke introduced the panelists and moderated the discussion as they shared their insights on emerging areas of interest in nursing practice – including user design, mobile health, data and analytics, and system workflow processes.

The Nursing Innovation Luncheon panel included:

Betty Jo Rocchio                                Bonnie Clipper                                              Judi Cullinane
MS, BSN, CRNA, CENP                     DNP, RN, MA, MBA, CENP, FACHE             PhD, RN, MSN, CAGS, CCRN-K
CNO, Mercy Health System              VP Innovation, ANA                                      Executive Director,
                                                                                                                                       Center for Excellence
                                                                                                                                       Tufts Medical Center

Some key take-aways from the Nursing Innovation Luncheon:

• Nurses are already natural innovators, though most nurses don’t realize it. Nurses do work-arounds every day to care for their patients -- and this is innovation.

• Nurses are on the frontlines of patient care and know what is needed, what is not working and often have the best ways to address the issues.

• Significant roadblocks to innovation affect nurses -- such as organizational cultures and leadership teams that don’t grasp the innovation value nurses bring to the table.

• Nurses need to speak up and invite themselves to the table to discuss problems in healthcare delivery and their ideas for solutions.  

With four million nurses constituting the largest group of clinicians in the U.S. healthcare workforce, Robke recognizes their vital role in healthcare delivery, both as leaders and as trusted advocates for patients and their families. 

“It’s exciting to be a part of what’s going on in nursing right now. We are accepting and owning our role as leaders in healthcare innovation – to the benefit of patient outcomes,” says Robke.  “We’re also seeing a collaboration initiative with other clinicians and our colleagues in the IT and business community around supporting our success in innovation.”

“We’ve gone from a time where innovation impacting our professional practice was done without our opinion, to a time where academia, healthcare organizations, associations and industry partners work collaboratively in supporting nursing care delivery – all supporting patient centric healthcare. That helps nurses work smarter, not harder. BD wants to support that paradigm shift for the benefit of patients,” says Robke. 

Winning Ideas in NursePitch™ 

Immediately following the luncheon, HIMSS was pleased to host the pioneering NursePitchTM in partnership with the American Nursing Association (ANA). As part of the process of scaling up a high-growth business via funding rounds, NursePitch™ is classified as a Pre-Seed and Series A competition.  

The live, interactive event featured nurses from across the country competing for the chance to turn their innovation dreams into reality. Narrowed down from a field of nearly 40 initial entries, five finalists had the opportunity to pitch their products to a team of highly respected judges representing health innovation, business, and venture capital companies.

Before making the awards, a judges’ roundtable gave finalists and audience members their unique insights on nursing-led innovation. Dr. Bonnie Clipper of the ANA (see above) moderated questions to the panel of judges:




(Panel included (from left to right) Dr. Karen Tilstra, Florida Innovation Lab; Molly McCarthy, Microsoft; Jeff Reis, Healthbox; Matt Herman, Ascension Ventures & Betty Jo Rocchio of Mercy Health System -- see above)


Judges select winners in inaugural 2019 NursePitch™

The five NursePitch™ finalists presented their pitches, competing for cash scholarships, mentorships from MASS Challenge HealthTech and Plug and Play , recognition in HIMSS publications, complimentary registrations to HIMSS20 Global Conference & Expo and individual HIMSS memberships.  

FIRST PLACE: Helpsy    $10,000 Scholarship  

Sangeeta Agarawal, RN, MS

Sangeeta Agarawal is the Founder, CEO and the vision behind Helpsy. She has been an engineer for nine years at companies such as IBM and Motorola and a nurse for seven years at Mayo Clinic, Stanford Cancer Center and University of California, San Francisco with USCF Entrepreneurs.  

“Undergoing cancer treatment or acute life transitions is financially challenging, physiologically and psychologically stressful, and has a profound impact on all dimensions of life for the patient and their support network. At this difficult time in their life, patients have to deal with different providers and health care systems. 
For payers, the advantage is improved outcomes and cost savings averaging $5k-$15k per patient. Pharma companies and health care systems can differentiate themselves by focusing on delivering patient-centered care, which is responsive to patient needs, and providing real time evidence-based information to support and guide patients and caregivers throughout the treatment journey. 
They can partner with Helpsy to facilitate this companion solution, while simultaneously conserving resources and minimizing costs. Helpsy provides a comprehensive symptom management and navigation platform to support cancer patients throughout their treatment journey. Helpsy has the brain of a cancer nurse coded into it. Helpsy’s artificial intelligence (AI) is the SAN (Symptom Management and Navigation) nurse bot, acting as a nurse and social worker for every patient. 
As a cancer nurse, I saw suffering in my patients that I knew was preventable. I would build information resources and do consults that they found very helpful. As a scientist at UCSF, I conducted studies to determine if it was possible to leverage supportive care for symptom management and obtained excellent results. The National Science Foundation (NSF) approached us to determine if there is business value to the solution and my patients encouraged me to start the company and continued to support us throughout the process.”  www.helpsyhealth.com

SECOND PLACE: MyRA    $5,000 Scholarship

D Marie Thompson, RN, JD

D Marie Thompson is Founder & CEO of MyRA Technologies Inc. She has been a nurse at UCLA Health, Kaiser Permanente, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Emory University Hospital, and other healthcare organizations. She is a Health Tech CEO, Health Law consultant, concierge nurse, and EPIC trainer.

“MyRA (My Resource Assistant) provides a more efficient means of addressing the staffing shortage issues of our healthcare system. MyRA helps alleviate the negative impact that staffing issues have on patient safety and care, which result from understaffed and overworked employees. MyRA provides an on-demand healthcare staffing platform that serves as a conduit for healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities to connect, in order to service their staffing and scheduling needs. The application (app) is designed to empower nurses with a means of controlling their work schedule, while also providing facilities with a resource to fulfill their supplemental staffing needs without utilizing a staffing agency as an intermediary. 
MyRA (which is named after my mother who has since passed away) was birthed out of my need for more flexibility and control over my work schedule. Although I was working as a nurse in California, my mother was dealing with a terminal illness in Florida.  I was the only one in the family with any healthcare knowledge and desperately needed to be at her bedside.  Many times, her hospitalization would last for six weeks or more. During those times, I recognized that it would be wonderful if I could pick up a few shifts at some of the local hospitals without having to commit to a lengthy contract.  
I knew there was an opportunity to sign on with a staffing agency, but many of their onboarding processes were so extensive and I did not want to deal with the constant hassle of frequent phone calls requesting that I pick up shifts on days when I was uninterested.  I also knew that I was mature and responsible enough to manage my own scheduling, so I truly did not need an agency as a go-between the hospital and myself.  I thought, “Why not create a system that is more streamlined and efficient; one that will offer me the flexibility of working at ANY hospital when I chose to be available, while providing hospitals with a greater labor pool to choose from at a savings over their current expenses for utilizing a staffing agency?” That concept is MyRA.”

THIRD PLACE: New Trails Navigators   $2500 Scholarship

Ramona Ramadas

Ramona is a Master's trained healthcare innovator and the founder of New Trails Navigators. Her innovative solutions and thought leadership are driven by over a dozen years as a healthcare provider and leader, as well as an early career working on award winning software solutions in the tech industry.

“Healthcare systems are designed to help patients get well, but success is difficult to maintain when a patient's whole picture includes unmet social and behavioral needs.  In the face of seemingly impossible struggles, patients make difficult, life-changing decisions.  These decisions and inefficiencies burden the patient, the health system, and communities. At the same time, individuals across the country are serving time for crimes they wish they’d never committed.  They want to help others avoid the same fate, but will face limited employment options upon release.  These are some of the toughest problems our communities face.  
What if there was a way to bring these problems together to build a better path forward? New Trails Navigators improves the health of communities by augmenting health care and community settings with Peer Health Navigators - resources that have faced real-life challenges and are uniquely qualified to guide sustainable change for at-risk individuals. 
When I was a direct patient care nurse, I worked primarily in community health.  I saw a lot of patients whose discharge plans looked great on paper, but by the time I saw them in the community their situations had destabilized.  Hospitals have tools and structure needed to help our patients get well.  But in the community, amid life, trauma, and stress, we have few solutions to guide patients down the right path.  And when we are struggling in our daily lives, we don’t look for the big data silver bullet.  We look to our families and our communities, and to our peers who have been there and done that -- and we reach out.  That’s what New Trails Navigators does.” 
Watch for news on the next NursePitch™ competition and entry info for HIMSS20 Global Conference & Exhibition.