Nurse checking the monitors in a hospital room I2O text logo The Center for Insights to Outcomes leverages design thinking, technology, and data science to solve complex problems in health care

Overview

The Center for Insights to Outcomes (I2O) leverages principles from design thinking, software development, data science, public health, and business model innovation to solve the most challenging problems in care delivery.  

Working closely with frontline partners, I2O’s health system arm applies a disciplined and scientific approach to understand and often re-frame the problem space, build empathy with diverse stakeholders, rapidly validate assumptions, and scale high-impact solutions to materially improve health and health care.  

In conjunction, I2O’s research arm uses robust methodologies to design and develop evidence-based interventions and observational studies to enhance patient and clinician well-being, improve care delivery, and increase health equity. 

I2O encompasses and builds on work done by the Acceleration Lab and Center for Digital Health, two former teams of the Center for Health Care Transformation and Innovation. In bringing together the clinical operations and research groups, I2O aims to create a synergistic environment in which learnings from each inform the work of the other, accelerating conversion of evidence-based insights to the bedside.

Approach

Image of double diamond framework

I2O’s research portfolio draws on multidisciplinary methodologies such as observational studies, randomized controlled trials, and big data and machine learning analyses. We use these tools to generate high-quality evidence around health behaviors and health care delivery.

For our health system projects, we often experiment quickly at low cost, scaling once we find high-impact solutions. Most successful innovations differ substantially from where they started; since getting it right the first time is rare, small, quick tests are valuable before system-wide implementation. The iterative and agile methodology we use has four components that alternate between divergent and convergent action. This approach is represented by the double diamond. 

Check out our design thinking toolkit to learn more about the methodology we use to drive change.

Project Phases

Health system projects at I2O move through four phases of work with the ultimate goal of bringing successful innovations to scale.

Phase one: It might work

In phase one, we work to gain a deep understanding of the problem or opportunity space, rapidly test potential solutions, and generate early evidence that we can move the needle. Learning what not to do in phase one is a success as long as we’ve done so quickly and at low cost. Efficiently invalidating hypotheses helps to create a culture of experimentation that enables organizations to succeed.

Phase two: It does work

In phase two, we move from conducting small experiments to testing at a level of scale that will produce the evidence needed for operational stakeholders to invest in the solution. We also work to articulate a business model that demonstrates a clear return on investment. 

Phase three: How we work

In phase three, we leverage the knowledge, metrics, and momentum from previous phases to secure funding and support for the solution at scale. Projects graduate when a sustainable infrastructure for the solution is implemented at Penn Medicine. 

Phase four: Extending our work

In phase four, we expand the solution’s implementation to other contexts. This can take several forms: 

  • Scale: applying the solution to the same care situation but at a different site within the health system, with the goal of eventually implementing it at all relevant sites (system-wide scale) 
  • Leverage: adapting and applying the solution in a different area of care, such as another specialty 
  • Spread: catalyzing and facilitating the solution’s adoption by other health systems 

Key Project Domains

Optimizing when and how care is delivered

We use real-time, algorithmic identification and data-driven risk assessments to identify the right patient for the right intervention at the right time. Escalation and automation enable us to allocate resources effectively so clinicians can practice at the top of their license and patients can access care sooner. 

Shifting where care happens

We move care delivery to high-value settings and provide patients with extra support through remote monitoring. Our interventions enhance patient and provider engagement before, during, and after health care encounters and in patients’ everyday lives.

Sustaining workforce well-being

Supporting health care workers’ well-being, including mental health, is central to providing best-in-class patient care. We develop evidence-based interventions and conduct randomized controlled trials to determine how best to sustain the well-being of Penn Medicine employees.

Mining data for actionable insights

People generate a trail of information in the form of digital footprints as they navigate online resources using mobile phones, computers, and other devices. We mine these digital footprints and analyze them using advanced data science methods, drawing actionable insights that we use to improve patient and clinician engagement, care delivery and patient outcomes, and health equity.

Enabling automation and effort reduction

We make the right choice the easy choice by implementing low-friction pathways and eliminating work for health system employees and patients wherever possible. Our interventions leverage the electronic health record, custom software development, and new automation and artificial intelligence methods.

Participate

Learn more about opportunities to collaborate with our team, practice our methods, and participate in our research studies.

 

Innovation Accelerator Program

The Innovation Accelerator Program supports faculty and staff from across Penn Medicine in their efforts to develop, test, and implement new approaches to improve health care delivery and patient outcomes. Working closely with innovation advisors, teams selected to participate in the program move through multiple phases of work to validate solutions and bring successful innovations to scale at Penn Medicine and beyond.

Accelerators in Health Care game

Created by Acceleration Lab staff, the Accelerators in Health Care card game leverages the power of analogies and constraints to help teams generate innovative solutions for some of the toughest challenges in health care. After cycling through co-creation, pitch, and idea selection stages, players leave the game with enhanced ideation skills and a deeper understanding of innovation methodology.

Donate your data

When you donate your data, you are helping us create a new way to understand health and well-being in this digital age. Join the 6,000+ people who have donated their data and become a part of our digital health community.

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