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Geisinger employees develop new workplace, medicine ideas and share in profits

Dec. 14, 2006, DANVILLE, PA. – Healthcare costs are rising, and helping to offset those costs while providing a high level of care is every health administrator’s challenge. Smart leaders know that collaboration is critical and they also know that those on the frontlines of care often have innovative solutions to complex problems.

That’s why Geisinger Health System is looking to its 11,000 employees for the next great ideas in medicine. In fact, Geisinger is willing to share in the profits to make that collaboration happen.

If a device gets licensed, a third of the profit goes to the employee, a third goes to the employee's department and a third goes to Geisinger to use system-wide.

Geisinger’s corporate development arm, Geisinger Ventures, takes viable ideas from concept to patent and then to market. Those ideas – referred to as “intellectual property” – generally are focused on a better way to use a device, a piece of equipment or a process. Once the idea is put into practice, it can lead to improved efficiency and effectiveness.

“Sometimes it's thinking about a simple solution to a problem or a ‘pain point’”, Ventures Associate Bryan Allinson said. “Too often many medical staff just accept these pain points as ‘the way things have been always done’. However, in some situations, new devices and solutions that are better, faster, less costly than the old way can help us deliver better care to our patients.”

Geisinger Ventures nurtures innovative ideas, licenses and brings to market intellectual property. They also help develop sound business plans and stimulate growth of for-profit companies.

Take, for instance, the work of Geisinger LifeFlight® registered nurse Kevin Grimm.

During a recent flight, Grimm was infusing a patient having heart problems with a drug used to slow down a rapid heart rate, immediately followed by a syringe change to flush the drug, when an idea came to him.

Returning home that afternoon, Grimm designed a rough prototype that could make the injection and subsequent flush easier to deliver in close quarters.

“I knew if my idea was accepted, Ventures would handle all the details and I'd get a third of the profits,” Grimm said. “For me that was a win-win.”

Grimm’s work fits perfectly into Ventures’ mission of encouraging marketable, employee-driven ideas, according to Allinson.

“As soon as I reviewed Grimm's concept, I knew this one had promise,” Allinson said. “It was a smart, simple improvement of a traditional process.”

Grimm said he has more ideas on the drawing board and hopes to have more accepted as possible Ventures projects. “It's the best type of gambling - because you have nothing to lose.”

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is one of the nation's leading fully integrated healthcare providers. Founded in 1915, Geisinger serves more than two million residents throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania. The physician-led organization is at the forefront of the country's rapidly emerging electronic health records movement. Geisinger includes three major regional medical centers, a 650-member group practice, a not-for-profit health insurance company, and the Geisinger Center for Health Research—dedicated to creating innovative new models for patient care, satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

Geisinger Ventures' portfolio includes ISS Solutions, which is a provider of customized technology lifecycle management solutions, CareWorks, which operates convenient and safe walk-in medical services in common retail settings and MedMining, an information services company providing custom reporting, clinical trial preparation services and trial services to the pharmaceutical industry.