Shark Tank session caps off an Innovation Week filled with ideas

June 24, 2020
screenshot of Zoom meeting. Large window shows two women in masks in an office and smaller windows show judges from their offices or homes
Nurses Brittany Meibers and Elizabeth Glover present their group's idea during the 2020 Shark Tank Zoom session.

The novel coronavirus pandemic may have forced the Medical University of South Carolina’s annual Shark Tank innovation competition into a virtual format, but it didn’t stop the flow of ideas from students, faculty and staff who see ways to improve how MUSC delivers care and education.

The Shark Tank competition, initiated in 2018, is the culmination of Innovation Week. It's an opportunity for the MUSC community, at all levels, to present their ideas to MUSC leadership, including President David Cole, M.D., MUSC Health CEO Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., provost Lisa Saladin, PT, Ph.D., and chief innovation officer Jesse Goodwin, Ph.D. These “sharks” rate the ideas on innovativeness, potential impact, feasibility and affordability.

More than 90 groups offered ideas in the poster session that precedes the live Shark Tank. From there, nine groups went on to present their ideas, via Zoom, to the judges in the categories of education, research and care delivery. The three winners will receive support to expand their ideas over the coming year.

The 2020 MUSC Innovation Week Shark Tank award winners:


Care: Listening to Women (LTW) – A Mental Health and Substance Use Screening and Treatment Program for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Created by: Constance Guille, M.D.; Lauren Shipley; Erin Quigley; Nicole Dietrich; Lizmarie Maldonado; Annie Simpson, Ph.D.; Anna Kerr, R.N.; Rubin Aujla, M.D.; Ryan Kruis; Tomoko Goddard; and Kathryn King, M.D.

Mental health issues and substance abuse are significant concerns during pregnancy and the year postpartum. In fact, suicide and drug overdose are some of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the postpartum year, Guille explained to the judges.

There is an existing screening tool – Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment – that is considered the gold standard, yet there are multiple barriers to implementing it, she said. So the team created a mobile, text-based screening and remote care coordination system, paired with home telemedicine services, that allows women to do the screening on their phones and then be connected to care through telehealth. The remote care aspect is ideal not just in the time of COVID-19 but also for women who live in medically underserved areas where mental health treatment is hard to access.

Guille said the team needs development funds to create a way for information from the screening and telehealth care to be loaded into the electronic health record; this way the woman’s obstetrician can keep track of her care. It also removes a burden from OB-GYNs who know that mental health is important but often feel they don’t have the resources to address it adequately, Guille said.

Guille said she foresees MUSC offering the screening and telemedicine service to other hospitals or to private obstetric practices.

screenshot of Zoom virtual meeting showing a slide of the listening to women presentation along with three people participating from their computers 
A screenshot from Dr. Guille's presentation.

Education: Care and Safety Resource (CSR) Avatar

Created by: Brittany Meibers, R.N.; Lindsey De Jesus, R.N.; Natasha Smalls, R.N.; Kai Jenkins, R.N.; Heather Toeppner, R.N.; April Roscoe, R.N.; Corrie Scharrenberg, R.N.; Elizabeth Glover, R.N., and David G. Bundy, M.D.

Nurses in the Meduflex float pool can be assigned to one of five specialized adult intensive care units, each with its own protocols and procedures, presenters Meibers and Glover explained to the judges. Although all of that information is on MUSC Health’s intranet, it can be time-consuming to track it down, they said. Care team members should be at the bedside rather than on the internet, Glover said.

In response, they proposed a program that could be a smartphone app as well as a desktop icon. Nurses would see an avatar of a human body and could click on different body areas to pull up procedures related to that area – for example, clicking on the head would pull up information about delirium and clicking on the arm would pull up information about central line-associated bloodstream infections.

Making this information more easily accessible should improve quality outcomes and further standardize care, they said.

Meibers and Glover said that after testing the program in the ICUs, they can envision expanding it to other nursing areas and to the regional hospitals as well as to other care providers like doctors and physical therapists.

Research: The Future of Preprocedural Planning for Aortic Valve Disease

Created by: Andres F. Abadia, Ph.D.; Jeremy R. Burt, M.D.; Brian C. Dean, Ph.D., Richard Bayer, M.D.; U. Joseph Schoepf, M.D.; and Madison Kocher, M.D.


screenshot of Zoom virtual meeting showing a slide with clinical information about the need for TAVR in large window and five smaller windows showing participants 
Drs. Abadia and Burt present their group's idea.  

Some 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with aortic stenosis, or a narrowing of the aortic valve, reducing blood flow from the heart into the body. In 2018, 100,000 people underwent a procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, and that number is projected to increase to 500,000 by 2028, Abadia told the judges. 

Before the procedure, radiologists must measure anatomical landmarks to provide a map for the cardiologist. But this is a time-consuming process that varies according to the radiologist, Abadia said. The group proposed redirecting an artificial intelligence algorithm created by Burt to standardize the process while reducing the time it takes. 

“We aim to expand the current algorithm, to automate the measurements in a reproducible manner, which could significantly reduce the time spent on this task,” Abadia said.

In addition to time savings, using artificial intelligence could improve the quality of measurements and the quality of patient outcomes by reducing complications, Burt said.