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CEO's Corner

RalphThe line of descent from Benjamin Franklin to the Penn Medicine of today is a long and celebrated one. And you can be a part of it! Another opportunity to display your innovative thinking -- much as Dr. Franklin did -- is now in high gear.

The Your Big Idea Challenge encourages members of the Penn Medicine community to propose ideas for improving operating efficiencies and lowering costs … while of course maintaining the Penn hallmarks of excellence in patient care, research, and education.

Last year’s Your Big Idea -- our innovation tournament to improve the patient experience -- proved so successful that we’ve brought it back in a new version this year. Nearly one-third of our workforce took part in the 2012 tournament by submitting, commenting on, or rating ideas. This year we’re aiming to climb even higher than that impressive participation rate.

We’re conducting the Challenge to help ensure that we retain our strong fiscal health in increasingly difficult times. The health care industry nationwide is facing growing financial demands, and Penn Medicine is not immune from these pressures. Lower governmental payments, fewer inpatient admissions, expected cuts in medical education and research funding, and growing information technology costs for meaningful-use requirements are compelling health care organizations everywhere to take new measures to adapt. In our case, the goal is clear and basic: identify new cost-savings opportunities so that we can continue to reinvest in the future of Penn Medicine.

Whether it’s performing procedures more wisely and efficiently, using less-costly supplies, or making the best use of technology -- and almost anything in between -- we welcome all ideas to help improve value while continuing Penn’s best-of-class standard.

Here’s a summary of how Your Big Idea works (full details are available at

First, identify your best idea (or ideas) for increasing value while preserving quality. Next, complete the short form on the website. Ideas will be rated by your colleagues on the Your Big Idea website. Those ratings, along with the evaluation of an official review team, will determine what happens next. Ideas will be pegged as a quick fix (can be easily implemented with immediate savings opportunities); commissioned idea (shows promise but needs further development and coordination to recognize savings potential); or prove us wrong (doesn’t appear to have savings potential but we’d welcome additional evidence). Results will be announced the week of June 24th.

The Challenge is being conducted in the same spirit as last year: having fun while achieving a serious purpose. So once again we’ll be randomly awarding great prizes such as Phillies and Art Museum tickets to people who submit ideas. 

As you probably know, last year’s winning ideas, patient services kiosks and myPenn Scheduler, are both in operation today. Just as importantly, we’re also implementing dozens of other ideas, including electronic paychecks and blanket warmers for chemotherapy patients. So if your idea is sound, you can be sure we’ll figure out a way to make the most potent use of it.

I’m confident that the Your Big Idea Challenge will generate the freshness of thought and vision for which Penn Medicine is so well known. The deadline is June 7th. I can’t wait to read your suggestions.

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