Innovation at the Trager Institute

During this year’s #RaiseSomeL, UofL’s annual day of giving, we are sharing with you how we work to innovate the aging experience. 

When most hear the word “innovation” they automatically limit themselves by thinking that innovation is only about technology and product development. At the University of Louisville Trager Institute, innovation related to technology and product development are just a part of our larger goal to innovate healthcare and the aging experience.

Our health innovation efforts are embedded in our eco-system of organizational, social, and environmental innovation and includes three parts: 1) healthcare delivery service, 2) product development, 3) process and technology.

Organizational Innovation

When one enters the Institute, our guests experience an open floor plan and welcoming atmosphere that integrates our whole team into the healthcare experience. This organizational process innovation includes a collaborative executive space, optimized service delivery processes to reduce costs, improved patient health, and experience and measurement tools that track patient health and satisfaction.

Our focus on research guides our organizational innovation and has led us to  collaborate with the school of engineering, to develop a specialized toilet seat that measures weight and a medicine reminder tool for older adults to ensure proper medication management. We are about to begin a gut microbiome study with the University of Louisville Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. This study will help us determine the microbiome that supports to optimal aging. Through our research grants with HRSA, we look at every patient encounter as a time to improve service delivery, reduce cost, improve patient health and help our healthcare team to flourish.

Social Innovation

The social innovation efforts at the Institute steers us to benefit society by striving for compassionate service to our patients, students, colleagues, and community members. We strive to reduce disparities by giving equal opportunity and access to health and education so that everyone can age optimally and flourish during their time at the Institute and throughout their lifespan. 

Education is a core part of our approach to innovating the healthcare model. Each year the Institute hosts 40 students from the University of Louisville Schools of Nursing, Social Work, and Counseling Psych, Schools of Social Work from Western Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University and Pikeville University, as well as, the Pharmacy School from  Sullivan University. Our Interprofessional Case Management Experience (ICME) and Interprofessional Curriculum for Older Adults (ICCOA) allows us to annually train medical, nursing, dental, pharmacy, and social work students helping them acquire the skills to enter the workforce with specialized geriatric competencies. 

In addition to our education and workforce development, we are going to be offering a variety of health and wellness classes to support lifelong flourishing. Soon we will be offering healthy cooking lessons, yoga, meditation and tai chi, and a fitness area for students, patients and community members as part of our service delivery model called FlourishCare. 

FlourishCare is an innovative program that provides the much-needed wrap around healthcare that individuals need to flourish! In addition to comprehensive care coordination and wellness classes, it includes a telehealth outreach to those who cannot come to the Institute in person. By integrating new technology and healthcare models, we are able to provide telehealth counseling to our patients and telementoring to our interdisciplinary colleagues via Project ECHO.

Environmental Innovation

Our environmental innovation efforts are embedded into all of our programing and include biological, psychological, social, environmental, and behavioral determinants of health. We promote this in our model of Flourish Care and within the Institute by filling our space with plants, using environmentally friendly products and taking intentional and deliberate actions to sustainably promote our work and community environment.

Join us as we innovate the aging experience!

Blog Contributor:   

Joe D'Ambrosio, PhD, JD, LMFT, CSW
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
Director of Wellness
University of Louisville Trager Institute
Republic Bank Optimal Aging Clinic
[email protected]

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