Yale New Haven launches innovation center to advance care, improve value

Yale New Haven Health System has launched the Sparq innovation center to encourage and implement new ideas for procedures, techniques and technologies that will advance and improve the quality of care, while managing the total cost of care.

“As one of the nation’s premiere health systems, with an outstanding clinical partnership with Yale School of Medicine, we want to remain at the forefront of providing innovative patient care,” said Gayle Capozzalo, YNHHS executive vice president, Strategy and System Development, and chief strategy officer. “We have incredibly talented people here. Through Sparq, we will solicit their ideas on improving and streamlining care and bring those ideas to fruition.”

Capozzalo, Sparq’s co-executive leader, noted that Yale School of Medicine has a number of complementary programs, such as the Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology. It comprises engineers, clinicians, scientists and other experts who support and implement ideas for new medical devices, diagnostics and health technology approaches. Sparq will work in partnership with established Yale programs like CBIT to further strengthen and enrich the health system’s organization and infrastructure.

An existing example of the type of innovations Sparq would support at Yale New Haven is the Rothman Index, software that helps clinical staff quickly determine which patients’ conditions could deteriorate. Improved and implemented at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2013, the index combines vital signs, certain lab test results, heart rhythm patterns and nurse assessments and creates an easy-to-read score.

The primary aim of the Rothman Index is to save lives, but it also helps prevent complications that might require additional treatments, medications or procedures. That lowers the cost of care, for patients and the health system.

“Innovation is central to the health system’s mission, but in this challenging financial environment, we also want to improve value –ensuring we provide the most advanced, high-quality care to patients while carefully managing the overall cost of that care,” said Vincent Tammaro, YNHHS executive vice president, Financial and Corporate Services, and chief financial officer, who is leading Sparq with Capozzalo.

To help launch Sparq, YNHHS physicians and employees across the health system will soon receive a survey asking them to identify potential areas where innovation could enhance care quality and value. Sparq leaders will also solicit employees’ novel solutions and plan to hold a value innovation summit in the spring. Learn more about Sparq at ynhhs.org/Sparq, and watch for future communications.