Penn Medicine

Innovation Accelerator Program


The Innovation Accelerator Program is designed to support staff from across Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health in their efforts to develop, test, and implement new approaches to improve health care delivery and patient outcomes. Working closely with mentors from the Center, teams move through three phases of work with the ultimate goal of bringing successful innovations to scale.

Since the inception of the program at the Center for Health Care Innovation at Penn Medicine, 30 projects tackling some of health care’s toughest challenges have been funded.  Learn more about the structure of the program, and the support teams receive below or watch our most recent Pitch Day presentation.




Phase one: It might work

In phase one, teams work to better understand the problem, rapidly test potential solutions, and define how to measure success.  At the end of phase one, teams present to health system leadership for the opportunity to receive additional investment to take their ideas to scale.
Duration: Six months (November to April)

  • Training: Teams attend a series of workshops to learn high-impact methods for rapidly validating solutions
  • Mentorship: An Innovation Advisor dedicates 40% of their time to the project
  • Funding: Teams have access to up to $10,000 to test and develop their concepts
  • Recognition and additional support: At the end of phase one, teams present their work to health system leadership for the opportunity to receive additional investment
Success criteria
  • Define a meaningful problem space with baseline data.
  • Develop an understanding of key problem drivers.
  • Engage a working team to develop and test interventions.
  • Set measurable targets for your work.
  • Run a series of small experiments based on clear hypotheses
  • Generate early evidence that you can move the needle.
  • Identify and engage operational stakeholders who are willing to support your intervention once you have demonstrated impact.

Phase two: It does work.

In phase two, teams move from conducting small experiments to testing on a larger scale. Teams are challenged to demonstrate sustained impact and secure the resources and stakeholder support necessary to move their solution towards implementation. 

Duration: One year (July to June)

  • Training: Teams attend a series of workshops to learn approaches and skills for bringing innovations to scale.  
  • Mentorship: Innovation Advisors continue to dedicate time to the project.  Allocation varies by project.
  • Funding: Teams have access to up to $50,000 to move work forward. 
Success criteria
  • Test your intervention at a level of scale that provides the evidence needed for operational stakeholders to invest in further scaling and sustaining your solution.
  • Define and articulate a business model to support your solution at scale.  This includes demonstrating a clear return on investment for the health system, payers, and additional stakeholders with the resources to support your intervention.

Phase three: How we work.

Leveraging knowledge and momentum from previous phases, teams work with stakeholders to secure the permanent infrastructure necessary for their intervention. Teams “graduate” when they achieve sustainable implementation at scale for their solution. 

Duration: Varies by project

  • Gap resources as needed (funding, staff support, leadership advising).
Success criteria
  • Develop and execute a strategy to operationalize your intervention at scale with resources independent of the Center.
  • Identify clear metrics and infrastructure for accountability and continuous improvement.

Past Projects


Colorectal Cancer Screening Enhancement

Colorectal cancer is preventable, if appropriate screening takes place. Simply, if we screen more patients, we will find more precancerous polyps that can be removed. Current estimates are that 30% of men and 20% of women who have never been screened for CRC have precancerous polyps. An effective colonoscopy with biopsy can save a patient 90% of what it would cost to treat a cancer in the earliest stages.  Lancaster General Health Physicians is currently screening 72.8 % of eligible patients. LGHP has over 67,000 patients that qualify for CRC screening, meaning that nearly 20,000 patients have not been screened. This project seeks to test all the assumptions for why patients hesitate to get screened. By remotely educating, engaging and navigating patients for CRC screening before and after primary care visits, the clinical team will better understand and be able to overcome patients’ hesitation to screening.  This knowledge, in turn, will increase the total percentage of patients who complete this screening.

Project Champion, Dr. Brian Young, Medical Director Transformation and Primary Care


SAM: Symptom Assessment Management in Oncology through Digital Patient-Reported Outcomes

Cancer patients fight to survive both their disease and the side effects of treating it. In the turmoil of such uncertainty and physical and emotional challenges, patients often hold back from disclosing significant treatment side effects for fear that clinicians will alter or stop therapy. When combined with clinicians underestimating symptom severity, these factors not only contribute to lower quality of life for patients, they can also drive increased health care expenditure through potentially unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. This project aims to engage, educate, and guide high-risk patients to take charge of their health. The creation of Symptom Assessment Management (SAM) in Oncology will significantly improve the clinical team’s ability to communicate with patients, control symptoms, reduce hospitalizations, and improve quality of life.

Project Champion, Amy Jo Pixley, Nurse Navigator, Oncology Clinical Support


The 2019 class for the Innovation Accelerator Program at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health has over 30 programs preceding it at the Center at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. Click here to learn more about previous classes.