Jun 07, 2018

Nursing SharkTank: Helping People Live Healthier Lives with Dignity

Nancy Hanrahan and Bonnie Clipper standing at the podium

Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor & senior associate dean of health & innovation, Northeastern University’s Bouve College of Health Sciences and the Shark Tank leader with Bonnie Clipper, DNP, MBA, RN, ANA’s vice president of practice and innovation, and an RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow, who served as one of the judges.

Work by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action and AARP to improve access to nurse-led care tends to focus on modernizing scope of practice laws at the state and federal levels. But efforts to improve consumers’ access to care go beyond changing laws and policies. They include expanding innovative technologies to help nurses and other clinicians do their jobs. That’s one reason the Campaign went to Boston recently for a “Nurse SharkTank.”

Hosted by Northeastern University’s Bouve College of Health Science and Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Northeastern School of Nursing, with support from AARP Innovations Lab and the American Nurses Association, the event showcased several nurse-led or nurse-implemented innovations aimed at helping older adults and others live more fulfilled and independent lives. The organizers encouraged “startups and entrepreneurs who have created solutions using disruptive technologies (artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, internet of things and other devices) to assist caregivers or nurses who empower individuals to live longer and more independently.”

Nigel Smith and Bonnie Clipper at the podium

Nigel Smith, director of AARP Innovation Labs with ANA’s Bonnie Clipper, thanking all of the participants, judges, and audience members.

One contestant was “My Wound Doctor,” which uses telehealth to help inform patients or family caregivers what the patient needs and how to provide that care. Another was “Empatica,” a wearable device worn by people who experience seizures. The device alerts the family caregivers of an active seizure and shows the location of that person so emergency services can reach them quickly. Both of those ideas were among the most popular at the competition, and the judges acknowledged them, as well as “Wellivity.” The judges selected this company as the winner. Wellivity helps people with diabetes successfully live at home using telehealth and artificial intelligence to prevent people from having skin breakdowns as a result of bed sores or incontinence rashes.

What are your ideas for nurse-led innovations? For more information, contact Winifred Quinn at WQuinn@aarp.org.