Millions of people across the country live with some type of medical device in their bodies to treat chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and epilepsy. While these devices are lifesaving, they are also the cause of thousands of canceled or delayed surgeries and other procedures. If not handled properly, devices and patients can be harmed. For years, surgical staff have had to contact every medical device company for instructions on how to manage certain implants before surgery.
Opportunity Statement: Develop a repository of information on medical implants and their usage that clinicians can reference to prevent surgery delays or cancellations and improve patient safety.
This was an ongoing issue at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center until two nurses came up with an idea. They created a paper-based medical device table for surgical teams to quickly gather any implant information they need ahead of surgery. In hopes of scaling and commercializing their concept, they submitted their prototype to OSF Innovation Studio, a group dedicated to bringing Mission Partner ideas to fruition.
OSF Innovation Studio helped the small team refine their concept into an up-to-date, web-based application called Device Table that provides instructions for various devices, contact information for company representatives and special precautions for handling patients with implants for surgery. Use of this Device Table web app at OSF Saint Francis helped reduce cancellations and delays, keeping patients safe and saving an average of more than $2.1 million per year. In addition, it provides efficiency and time savings for surgeons and anesthesiologists. The application will be licensed by OpenSurg, a new Peoria-based company that’s spun out of OSF, for further development and commercialization.
"Our front line clinicians have so many good ideas out there. We are a testimonial that with the right coaching and resources, you can turn your idea into a viable product that can benefit not just our patients but those around the country."
- Jill Teubel, MSN, clinical nurse educator for the Surgery Pre-Admission Center at OSF Saint Francis
In 2014, an anesthesiologist approached nurses, Jill Teubel and Mary Marvin, with a problem. The surgery department at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center was routinely cancelling and delaying elective procedures for patients with electronic medical implants.
“Many of these types of devices react negatively to the electrocautery tools used in surgery,” said Jill, MSN, RN, clinical RN educator for the Surgery Pre-Admission Center at OSF Saint Francis. “As a result, these medical implants come with their own set of instructions for use, and clinicians need that knowledge to protect both the implant and person undergoing an operation.”
Jill and Mary took on the challenge by reaching out to every company manufacturing medical implants and pulling 50 to 100 pages of instructions for more than 60 implants. They then created a two-page laminated table that included an alphabetized database of all of the devices by company, and organized guidelines on how to prepare patients for surgery, operation protocols and contact information for company representatives. The table was placed in every operating room within the hospital.
“We had one place for this information that was easily accessible to our surgery teams, but every time we had an update, we had to pull all of the copies from OR rooms and replace them with new ones,” said Mary, CNS, APN, Department of Surgery at OSF Saint Francis. “As the medical device industry continues to boom, our document quickly grew from two to 38 pages of content.”
In 2019, Jill and Mary decided they needed to do something more with the device table to make it more manageable and scalable. As a result, they went to OSF Innovation Studio, a group dedicated to bringing Mission Partner ideas to fruition, for help.
Jill and Mary already had a vision for taking their paper-based table and converting it into a digital format. They prototyped this idea by transitioning the database to a spreadsheet that was uploaded into the OSF Saint Francis intranet for anyone on the surgical team to use.
“That made the table easier to access, but surgical clinicians still had to scroll through 88 pages of material to get the device information they needed,” Jill said. “We wanted to create something that was simpler to use but didn’t know how to get there.”
In pitching the idea to OSF Innovation Studio, Jill and Mary shared the work they had done as well as a working prototype.
“Through internal vetting and review of the market, we saw the potential for commercialization,” said Kip McCoy, vice president, OSF Innovation Studio. “We talked to a number of different health systems that said surgical delays and cancellations were also a pain point for them.”
Over 18 months, Jill and Mary worked with OSF Innovation Studio to build and test several designs. The innovation team also connected the inventors to a local company to build a final web-based application, called the Device Table.
“OSF Innovation Studio helped us build what we envisioned. When you pull up the app, you sign in and it’s just two clicks,” said Jill. “You click the device you want, you click on the affiliated company and then all of the information is right at your fingertips. You no longer have to scroll through 88 pages to find what you need.”
The surgical department within OSF Saint Francis has been using the Device Table app on a regular basis. Since then, the surgical advanced practice nurse has made the necessary arrangements for about 145 medical implants before hospital patients go into surgery. For outpatient surgeries, clinicians estimate they have to address about 1,200 implanted devices a year prior to surgery.
The ability to prepare for implantable devices ahead of surgery means fewer delays and cancellations, better patient satisfaction, improved workforce commitment for anesthesia providers, surgeons and surgery staff and an average savings of more than $2.1 million per year.
OSF is in the process of scaling Device Table across the Ministry.
OSF Innovation Studio is helping Jill and Mary file a provisional patent on their idea. The Device Table team is working on an addition to its app, called CaseChat to help surgical care teams communicate in real-time about device preparation and management. And a company called OpenSurg will soon spin out of OSF to commercialize Device Table and CaseChat as a subscription-based service.
“With the ability for Device Table and CaseChat to be used in every outpatient surgical center and hospital outside OSF, OpenSurg stands to become a multi-million-dollar company,” said Kip. “There are also talks underway on how to expand this tool even further, such as imaging centers that also see delays and cancellations due to implantable devices.”
As patient oriented nurses who are passionate about patient safety, Jill and Mary are excited about the impact Device Table and CaseChat will make nationwide.
“We are blown away at how OSF Innovation Studio has helped us develop Device Table to where is now,” said Mary. “It will be a huge win for us when we start selling our tool to others outside OSF because we know they can use this to safely perform procedures on patients with implantable devices. At the same time, we will be helping surgical centers and hospitals keep their resources viable.”
For OSF Innovation Studio, Jill and Mary’s story is a testimonial that with the right expertise, support, coaching and resources, our Mission Partners can turn their ideas into viable products that can benefit not just OSF patients but those around the country.
“We would have never guessed that this path would open for us as nurses,” said Jill. “But God has brought our teams together and we are very thankful for that.”