Community Impact Report - Judith Dexheimer, Sarah Beal, and Mary Greiner partnered with Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services to develop IDENTITY.

Cincinnati, Ohio – Cincinnati Children’s has been named one of the Top Innovators for 2023 by Modern Healthcare, which cited software developed by a team of researchers and physicians to improve outcomes for kids in foster care.

The proprietary technology creates definitive matches between a healthcare organization’s electronic health record and the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System, which enables real-time data sharing between medical teams and child welfare professionals to improve overall outcomes of kids in foster care (also known as protective custody).

Called IDENTITY, which is short for Integrated Data Environment to eNhance ouTcomes in cusTody Youth, the technology has been licensed to Cordata Healthcare Innovations, a Cincinnati-based software as a service company that connects communities and healthcare organizations to better serve at-risk populations.

Modern Healthcare is a business publication whose Top Innovators recognition goes to healthcare organizations leading transformative programs that achieve measurable results in improving care and contribute to clinical and financial goals.

The IDENTITY software, which improves cross-system communication and helps prevent gaps in healthcare delivery such as missed appointments, missed vaccinations and proper care coordination, was developed by a team at Cincinnati Children’s that included:

  • Sarah Beal, PhD, associate professor of behavioral medicine and clinical psychology and scientific director of child welfare research with the CHECK Foster Care Center at Cincinnati Children’s
  • Judith Dexheimer, PhD, associate professor of biomedical informatics and emergency medicine
  • Mary Greiner, MD, MS, professor of general and community pediatrics as well as medical director of the CHECK Foster Care Center at Cincinnati Children’s

Nearly 400,000 children are in foster care in the United States, and they are at higher risk for medical, dental, developmental, behavioral and mental health concerns. Because of different ways of storing records by healthcare providers and child welfare professionals, information is often lost or inaccessible. And because healthcare providers often do not know a patient is in foster care, it might be unclear who should provide consent for treatment or when medical information can be shared.

“Ensuring optimal health for children in protective custody requires a collaboration between the healthcare system and the child welfare system,” Greiner said. “IDENTITY opens the doors for rapid information exchange and communication, allowing everyone to be on the same page to provide the best possible care.”

Cincinnati Children’s innovators are developing breakthroughs in nearly every area of healthcare – from digital solutions such as IDENTITY to therapeutics and medical devices. That includes world-first clinical trials of FLASH proton therapy to treat cancer, development of a neonatal MRI, and using virtual reality to plan cardiology procedures.

“These innovations are generated by our scientific researchers as well as those on the front lines such as physicians and nurse practitioners, whose creative ideas often turn into improved care for patients of Cincinnati Children’s as well as kids throughout the world,” said Abram Gordon, vice president of Innovation Ventures, the health system’s tech transfer and commercialization office.

“More than 18,500 people work at Cincinnati Children’s, and nearly one-third are engaged in research – including on therapies and cures as well as ways to improve child health by transforming delivery of care,” Gordon said.

A nonprofit, academic organization, Cincinnati Children’s has a long history of creating, developing, or testing vaccines and medical devices, and the health system helps lead the way in research on digital solutions as well as new small molecules and organoids, Gordon said.

Cincinnati Children’s Innovation Ventures has about 500 projects in progress at any given time, Gordon added. Highlights over the past 10 years at Cincinnati Children’s include 1,774 new invention disclosures, 1,885 patent applications filed, 628 patents issued, 230 licenses executed, 15 active start-up companies and 117 commercialized products/tools.

Such innovations contribute to the health system’s mission of education and have helped create numerous jobs with spinout companies, other startups, and established firms that license Cincinnati Children’s technology.

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