WHAT IS THE PENN healthcare innovation CHALLENGE?

The Penn Healthcare Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for students across campus to solve real-world healthcare problems using design-thinking and innovation principles. At the outset of the challenge, students are placed in multidisciplinary teams from programs across Penn, including Penn Design, Computer Science, Engineering, Medicine, Integrated Product Design, and Wharton. Through workshops led by world-renowned designers and innovation experts, students will learn industry best practices for need finding, ideation, prototyping, and storytelling. Following these sessions, teams will utilize these approaches to develop creative solutions to the sponsor’s challenge – in this case, improving the experience of patients preparing for joint replacement surgery at the Penn Musculoskeletal Center.


WHAT IS the Penn Musculoskeletal center?

The Penn Musculoskeletal (MSK) Center was created to deliver high-value, high-quality healthcare. The core principles are to improve patient safety and reduce inefficiencies, ultimately leading to an optimal patient experience. Annually, the MSK Center sees over 45,000 patient visits between family medicine/sports medicine, pain medicine, orthopaedic surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and rheumatology. The center is co-located with comprehensive radiology, phlebotomy and physical therapy within the building. The MSK Center is one of more than 15 other Penn Musculoskeletal and Rheumatology locations throughout greater Philadelphia.



The 2016 Healthcare Challenge asks participants to rethink patients’ preparation for joint replacement surgery, with the goals of:

  • Improving patient navigation
  • Reducing the number of rescheduled surgeries
  • Creating a seamless experience for patients

Before patients can undergo surgery, they must receive medical clearance through pre-admission testing to ensure a safe effective surgery. Pre-admission testing includes multiple elements not limited to: meeting with an internist, having routine test (e.g. blood, urine, x-rays), creating a discharge plan, and attending an education class for patients to learn about how to care for themselves after surgery.

Because so many activities need to be performed, patients can be confused, have long wait-times, or even miss critical tasks, which leads to a delay in surgery. Your ideas will enhance this experience will improve both the satisfaction and health outcomes of patients.



This Healthcare Innovation Challenge is an opportunity to make a tangible impact in the life of cancer patients at Penn. With your help, we can make sure that these patients are getting the critical information they need in a form they can understand. Together, we can help increase patient understanding of their condition and care plan, with the ultimate goal of increasing both longevity and quality of life. 



Sign up here to get involved. You will then be assigned a diverse team with representatives from across Penn.


more questions?

 Contact Marissa Gilman (gilmanma@wharton.upenn.edu), Steven Cupps (stcupps@wharton.upenn.edu) or Karen Au Yeung (karenay@wharton.upenn.edu).