ECRI, Plymouth Meeting, Pa., named Mon Health System of Morgantown, W. Va., the winner of its 15th Health Devices Achievement Award. ECRI presents its annual award to the member facility that has carried out the most exceptional initiative to improve patient safety, reduce costs, or otherwise facilitate better strategic management of health technology.

“Mon Health’s submission showed how health system leadership can foster an environment that encourages the use of innovative technology solutions to advance patient care,” says Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer, ECRI. “We congratulate Mon Health for striving to meet the needs of their local community and investigating new approaches to improving patient outcomes.”

Mon Health System created a pathway for innovation for their physicians, clinicians, and engineers by partnering with Intermed Labs at Mon Health, a MedTech startup studio. Intermed Labs at Mon Health connects individuals who have ideas for improving patient outcomes with the expertise and resources needed to turn those ideas into real-world solutions.

“Establishing a collaboration with a local innovation lab allowed us to provide our clinicians with the framework and infrastructure to develop new ideas to improve patient care,” says Mon Health CEO and President David Goldberg. “For this initiative to succeed, we committed our leadership support and then we got out of the way so the entrepreneurs had full rein to innovate.”

The first project through the process sought to improve the options for patients who had experienced fingertip amputation, a common concern among West Virginians. Fingertip amputation often occurs in young and productive populations.

Prosthetics can help these patients overcome functional deficits, but obtaining a functional finger augmentation can be difficult for patients in remote or economically disadvantaged regions. The solution was to create a low-cost, easy-to-order, highly functional fingertip manufactured exclusively by 3D printing.

“While other 3D printed augmentations have required significant post-production customization and maintenance, our device’s intrinsic joint system makes it essentially maintenance free and is able to be used immediately upon delivery,” says W. Thomas McClellan, MD, plastic reconstructive surgeon and chief executive officer, Intermed Labs at Mon Health. “For patients, it’s as easy as visiting our website, taking a picture of their hand, and ordering the device—similar to a typical e-commerce product.”

Previous winners of ECRI’s Health Devices Achievement Award include Vancouver Coastal Health System and Lower Mainland Biomedical Engineering (2020), Penn Medicine (2019), and Boston Medical Center (2018).