Do you have an idea that has the potential to improve the field of infectious diseases and patient care? Now is your chance to apply for the 2021 IDea Incubator competition in collaboration with Johnson and Johnson Innovation – JLABS (‘JLABS’) for the opportunity to pitch your idea to the ID community and potentially win up to $10,000 in funding.
In 2020, the IDea Incubator $10,000 grand prize went to OASIS©: Outpatient Automated Stewardship Information System, presented by Holly Frost, MD, general academic pediatrician and infectious diseases researcher at Denver Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Sonal Munsiff, MD, associate professor at University of Rochester Medical Center and director of the Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy Program.
Antibiotic stewardship is a key component of addressing antimicrobial resistance. Through stewardship efforts, health care professionals can monitor and improve how antibiotics are prescribed to more effectively treat infections and prevent unnecessary antibiotic use. Dr. Frost and her team developed OASIS to help make this practice more accessible and cost-efficient.
OASIS uses common biostatistical software to automate the generation and distribution of antibiotic stewardship audits and feedback reporting in outpatient settings. Since this is where most antibiotic prescribing occurs, it is a critical target of antimicrobial stewardship and essential to defending against antimicrobial resistance.
Dr. Frost and Dr. Munsiff told us more about their experience with the IDea Incubator competition and their winning innovation, OASIS.
How did you learn about the IDea Incubator, and what made you want to apply?
Dr. Frost: I was aware of the competition from previous years at IDWeek. Emails from the IDSA Foundation and from IDWeek 2020 kept it top of mind.
Dr. Munsiff: We knew the OASIS project was both innovative and widely needed, so it was an ideal fit for the IDea Incubator competition. No such antimicrobial stewardship method or intervention has previously been described specifically for outpatient settings, and it is now mandatory for sites certified by The Joint Commission to have an ambulatory stewardship program. OASIS fits that need perfectly.
How did your team come together and collaborate on the OASIS innovation?
Dr. Munsiff: We were all trying to set up antibiotic stewardship projects and had some similar ideas. Dr. Frost had already published some of the work being done at Denver Health related to antibiotic stewardship. I decided to reach out to her and learned the project at Denver Health had advanced to a new stage. It was a great fit for IDea Incubator, and that’s when our collaboration began.
Tell us more about OASIS. Dr. Frost: OASIS was developed at Denver Health. The system uses common statistical software code to automatically gather and analyze data from major electronic medical record data warehouses, package it into beautiful visual reports and email it directly to providers at pre-defined intervals.
OASIS can be customized for nearly any antibiotic stewardship intervention or target and can help health care systems implement the CDC Core Elements of Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship in a cost-effective manner that requires substantially less time than traditional methods. This will also make it easier for Joint Commission-certified programs to comply with the new requirements for having an outpatient antibiotic stewardship program.
How do you hope your innovation will impact health care and ID?
Dr. Munsiff: Reducing antimicrobial resistance in our communities is essential, and data collection and reporting is a necessary part of any stewardship effort. We hope that every institution with electronic medical records will be able to automate their stewardship reports to make antibiotic stewardship more efficient and accessible, especially for institutions that perform outpatient antibiotic use.
Dr. Frost: Ultimately, I hope OASIS will reduce unnecessary prescribing. The system simplifies audit and feedback reporting for stewardship, which makes it more tangible, particularly for health systems with considerable resource limitations. I also hope OASIS will encourage more collaboration among stewards so that if one program has an effective system, other health systems can simply mimic it rather than re-invent the wheel.
How have the awarded funds allowed you to progress your innovation?
Dr. Munsiff: With the IDea Incubator funds, we are implementing some changes to our existing Epic Systems platform that will allow us to integrate OASIS here at the University of Rochester.
Dr. Frost: The IDea Incubator funding has helped us to continue to update OASIS. Since the competition, we have engaged several national partners and are currently in the process of securing additional funding to further develop the OASIS platform and make it more accessible to others.
What did you enjoy most about the 2020 virtual IDea Incubator?
Dr. Frost: It was really exciting to be part of the competition and to compete with others who had important, innovative ideas.
Dr. Munsiff: It was refreshing to develop a sales pitch targeting a non-medical audience rather than an academic paper.
What advice would you give to others who are considering applying to the IDea Incubator?
Dr. Munsiff: Potential applicants should know that you don’t have to have a product or device to compete. Innovative ways to practice medicine and deliver care can be just as competitive.
Dr. Frost: I would add that applicants shouldn’t be intimidated by the application or presentation. The IDSA Foundation team was a wonderful group to work with, and they provided lots of support along the way.
The IDSA Foundation is committed to reducing the burdens of infectious diseases worldwide through research funding and developing a diverse ID workforce. How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in ID?
Dr. Munsiff: The field of infectious diseases allows for a wide variety of practice types and career options, including public health, epidemiology, clinical care and clinical and basic science research. Though demanding, the work hours can be more flexible, as we are not tied to the operating room schedule.
Dr. Frost: I agree with Dr. Munsiff. Variety and flexibility can prevent burnout and ensure the work is always interesting. What’s more, it means you can shift your career path as you move through life.
I also think we need to do a better job of making academic medicine and research seem tangible and less intimidating, especially to women. Having strong female mentors and working on teams with other female investigators has helped me tremendously in my career. It should be acknowledged that women often bring a unique perspective and skill set to the table, and that supporting women in science advances science for everyone.
Why do you think it’s important for IDSA Foundation supporters to invest in research funding opportunities like the IDea Incubator?
Dr. Munsiff: There is so much room for innovation in the field of ID. A lot of our day-to-day practice is not based on clinical trials, but rather on collective experience. People are living longer and have many implanted medical devices. Device-related infections are increasing at a rapid rate, but we have few
clinical trials on how to manage these. In addition, the threat of drug-resistant organisms cannot be emphasized enough. There is a critical need for innovative therapeutics and patient care.
Dr. Frost: As evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious diseases continue to be some of our greatest threats. Rapid innovations and novel ideas are needed to advance the field. Programs like IDea Incubator support progress and innovation by providing rapid funding to move innovations forward.
Applications are open until July 28 for the 2021 IDea Incubator hosted by the IDSA Foundation in collaboration with Johnson and Johnson Innovation – JLABS.
For more information about competition rules or to watch last year’s event, including the pitches for the 2020 IDea Incubator’s top innovations – OASIS, PAL-ergy and the PPE VR Training Simulator – please visit www.idsafoundation.org/ideaincubator.