Imagine an app that empowers nurses to accurately and easily record information during the swirl of activity that accompanies a Code Blue — when a hospital care team rapidly responds to resuscitate a person in cardiac arrest. Imagine technology that allows expectant mothers to monitor their pregnancies and keep closely in touch with their providers. Imagine using your smartphone to make medical appointments, electronically fill out forms in advance and even make co-pays.

These are some of the brightest of the bright ideas presented at the 2016 Innovation Challenge, Sept. 29 at Wilmington Hospital, hosted by Christiana Care’s Health & Technology Innovation Center. Launched this year, the Innovation Center explores ways to research, develop and apply new technologies and devices to make health care safer, more effective and more efficient.

Innovation plays a vital role in The Christiana Care Way, contributing to affordable models of care delivered in ways patients value, said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, Christiana Care president and CEO.

“If we are going to advance our mission, innovation is a key ingredient,” Dr. Nevin said, speaking by video conference.


In all, 70 ideas for apps were submitted to the Innovation Center. For the challenge, the field was narrowed to four finalists. The best idea was determined by members of the Innovation Center Governance Council.

“The winner will work side-by-side with the team at the Innovation Center to make that idea a reality,” said Neil Jasani, M.D., MBA, FACEP, Christiana Care’s chief learning officer and vice president for Medical Affairs.

That doesn’t mean the other ideas won’t come to fruition, said Randall Gaboriault, MS, chief information officer and senior vice president, Innovation and Strategic Development. The center’s mission is to provide a steady stream of technologies that will add value to the patient experience.

“The Innovation Center gives us an opportunity to invent, respond and pioneer,” he said.

Neil Jasani, M.D., presents the Innovation Challenge award to Michael Benninghoff, D.O.

The judges considered four pitches:

  • Michael Benninghoff, D.O., medical director, MICU, MERC, Respiratory Care, presented “All Clear! Real Time Digital App For ACLS Data.” The goal: replacing handwritten difficult-to-decipher notes during Code Blue with an app that enables the rapid response team to record cases with such aids as a red flashing light that alerts the team when an injection of epinephrine is due.
Keith Heitz introduced his idea, “One Stop – An App For All Things Visitor,” which would help hospital visitors improve access with information.
  • Keith Heitz, organizational excellence consultant, advocated for “One Stop — An App For All Things Visitor,” which would help visitors to the hospital to improve access with information, such as real-time info on parking, text message updates on the status of patient procedures, walking directions, and access to hospital directories.
The Innovation Challenge event included Matthew K. Hoffman, M.D., MPH’s submission, “An Integrated Pregnancy Application.”
  • Matthew Hoffman, M.D., MPH, FACOG, Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, presented “An Integrated Pregnancy Application” that ultimately would allow expectant mothers with routine pregnancies to make fewer doctor’s visits and provider higher-risk patients with the extra care they need. The app would educate patients by enabling them to text with a nurse, log fetal movements and receive timely updates on such concerns as the Zika virus.
Care Link medical director Tabassam Salam, M.D., introduced her innovation, A Boarding Pass for Christiana Care Appointments, in which patients can use their smartphones to schedule appointments, complete medical questionnaires, reconcile medications, and a host of other tasks to improve their health care experience.
Tabassam Salam, M.D., FACP, pitched “A Boarding Pass for Christiana Care Appointments.”
  • Tabassum Salam, M.D., FACP, pitched “A Boarding Pass for Christiana Care Appointments,” in which patients could use their smartphones to schedule appointments, complete medical questionnaires, reconcile medications, upload a picture of their insurance cards, pay a co-pay and even videotape concerns, such as a gait disturbance.

The winner, by unanimous consent, was “All Clear! Real Time Digital App For ACLS Data.”

Dr. Benninghoff said the proposed app was a collaborative effort by members of the committee that oversees Code Blue and rapid response.

“We’ve been talking about this for a couple of years,” he said. “It was clear to us that we had to come up with something different because data gets lost when there is a room of 20 people trying to save a life and someone is trying to write things down on a piece of paper.”

Once developed, the app will enable a nurse to record times and procedures on a digital tablet. The proposal also calls for such prompts as flashing lights to alert the responders to certain benchmarks in care.

“More accurate records will help us to develop better algorithms and enhance care,” Dr. Benninghoff said. “We also will be better able to talk to families, which is an important part of what we do.”