Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most integrated health network is expanding their healthcare innovation program, Bear’s Den, to all hospitals to encourage the network’s 34,000 team members to bring forth their best ideas to transform care delivery and enhance patient satisfaction.
Bear’s Den Overview
Launched in 2017, Bear’s Den features a panel of experts, including CEO Robert C. Garrett, leading physicians, key network executives, venture capitalists, patent attorneys, who gather regularly to vet proposals from entrepreneurs. The health network’s novel incubator has vetted many products and strategies to streamline care delivery, reduce infections, lower hospital readmissions and help patients partner in their care with physicians.
Hackensack Meridian Health joined with the New Jersey Innovation Institute, an affiliate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, bringing together engineers, scientists, health care experts and others to launch innovations to improve health care delivery. Hackensack Meridian Health created an Innovation Center where aspiring companies present their concepts to the center’s ideation group. Those deemed ready are presented to the “Bear’s Den” group of Hackensack Meridian’s Innovation Center to decide on investment.
Bear’s Den Portfolio Companies
To date, Bear’s Den has supported two major innovations through their $25 million fund. The first company Bear’s Den funded was Boston-based Pillo Health, a leading in-home digital care management company. Pillo leverages voice-first technology and artificial intelligence to connect patients at home with their care teams and family members.
Pillo will soon be part of a study lead by Laurie Jacobs, M.D., chair and professor of Medicine, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. The study will include about 100 patients who receive care for congestive heart failure from physicians at Hackensack University Medical Center, the network’s flagship hospital. Pillo reminds people to take medication at the appropriate time, dispenses their medications, digitally coordinates prescription refills and connects individuals in their homes with physicians, caregivers and loved ones.
The second portfolio is PurpleSun, the only technology with a 90- second disinfection cycle to eliminate microorganisms to prevent hospital-acquired infections PurpleSun utilizes a form of ultraviolet light energy to disinfect care areas. It has been piloted in operating rooms, post-acute care units, intensive care and emergency departments and has reported a 98 percent effectiveness in eliminating microorganisms in those areas, according to recent reports published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
By creating designated space in the network’s 17 hospitals, staff members from Bear’s Den will meet team members on site to discuss their ideas. Additionally, entrepreneurs will periodically visit the hospital locations and share their inspiring stories with team members to encourage them to innovate.
“Bear’s Den has been a winning strategy for Hackensack Meridian Health by supporting the next breakthroughs in care delivery and it’s time to include our dedicated team members who know best how to innovate from their valuable frontline experience,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.