Letter from Leadership

Review highlights of the important work completed by the Technology Innovation Center over the past year.

The Technology Innovation Center (TIC) rapidly laid a technology foundation to keep the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System running when the pandemic hit. As the pandemic rolled into 2021, the TIC drew a technology blueprint for perseverance amidst the continuing (Delta and Omicron) storm. Those plans are now essential to keeping Johns Hopkins supporting care, research, and further discovery.

Below are 2021 projects that show far-reaching dimensions of TIC innovation to keep Johns Hopkins moving forward:

  • Providing health management of all who work and study at Johns Hopkins: the Prodensity app continued providing health checks (avg. 29,443/day in 2021) and testing/vaccine management for every employee and student arriving on campus
  • Verifying vaccinations for community health: designed and built the Vaccine Management System (verified 84,765 COVID vaccinations and exceptions) to empower occupational health teams with overseeing vaccine safety measures
  • Keeping care continuous, even remotely: a TIC-built and managed tool generated over 200,000 short links sent out to patients for telehealth appointments in 2021
  • Ensuring patients can safely attend in-person appointments: the patient health screening app built in collaboration with the Health IT team allowed 1.25 million patients to arrive at appointments in 2021
  • Deploying a predictor for severe COVID risk, bedside: supported studies that helped shepherd the Severe COVID-19 adaptive risk predictor (SCARP) score to the bedside for over 10,000 COVID-positive patients through deployment in our electronic medical record (EMR) system
  • Assisting with COVID case management: implemented case management and connectivity technology for the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center which oversaw 487,000 faculty, staff, and student tests, identifying more than 52,500 cases in 2021
  • Accelerating biomedical discovery: rapidly deployed EMR and imaging data on our secure Precision Medicine platform to 50 separate IRB-approved COVID research projects
  • Making JHU COVID tests and positive cases transparent: built a COVID dashboard with visualizations to surface the results of over 217,000 cumulative student tests and positive case information
  • Designing mental health services for employers: redesigned a mental health service application to assist employers beyond Johns Hopkins

Our team also re-architected how we work to test more scalable and agile ways to innovate with technology:

Transitioning to infrastructure as code
Our development operations team created reusable templates and code for use by teams from the TIC, Precision Medicine, and IT@JH, accelerating delivery of 82 apps to end users. Without these templates, it would take developers weeks to make changes with the possibility for human error. Immediate, universal updates provide transparency and eliminate errors, encouraging institutional collaboration.

Expanding patient and provider-centered design
We found new pathways to expand our patient- and provider-centered design methods, increasing our design participant pools in Precision Medicine and Student Services. These design methods eliminate waste, speed development, and bring acceptance and delight to participants. The methods have flooded into other teams at IT@JH; a pilot collaboration with the Health IT team in assessing patient self-scheduling on the patient portal resulted in a more prominent scheduling feature.

Shifting from project-based to functional (and virtual)
The TIC significantly matured as we shifted from categorizing our work by project teams to filling projects based on functional need. As the needs of the organization rode the pandemic rollercoaster, we quickly pulled in team members to build new features into Prodensity to follow organizational policy. By the end of 2021, 40% of the TIC team had added their touch to this project. The shift allows us to integrate more of our systems and perfect our virtual collaboration skills, laying a foundation for further rapid innovation.

Partnering with complementary teams for speed and power
The TIC put our unique position to co-create into practice, forging partnerships across our IT teams and with tech companies to augment our output. Our team co-designed the Healthblocks system with Microsoft to help researchers seamlessly manage and track wearable-integrated studies which led to a working product in six weeks. Internally, joint efforts with the University Information Systems and Health IT teams helped us present integrated and united changes to the pandemic-related technologies.

2021 was a year of persevering and adapting, but also of growth. We look forward to applying what we’ve learned to a post-pandemic world.

— The TIC leadership team

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Johns Hopkins Technology Innovation Center

Engaging scientists and clinicians in a multidisciplinary community to reimagine healthcare and deliver the promise of medicine.