Banner Health Foundation awards $4.2 million through Highest and Best Use Awards


2020 Highest and Best Use Awards
$4.2 million was awarded to six
programs and services across
Banner Health’s many medical
centers in Arizona.

Six Banner Health projects were awarded a collective $4.2 million through the 2020 Highest and Best Use Awards, a program of the Banner Health Foundation designed to encourage and support innovation across Arizona.

The Highest and Best Use Awards began in 2007 as a way to invest in deserving Banner programs using the interest earnings on the Foundation’s assets. Since inception, more than $40 million has been awarded through the program.

Banner Health division leaders are invited annually to submit funding proposals for programs and services that enhance patient care, expand the reach of Banner’s services, and advance important health initiatives. This year, in the spirit of popular TV shows like “Shark Tank,” nine programs were chosen as finalists to move forward in the first-ever, live, fast-pitch competition designed in partnership with the Banner Innovation Group. Watch a video about the competition.

Once their rankings were aggregated, Foundation Board members discussed the merits of each project and how to allocate the funds. With $4.2 million available, four projects received funding in the full amount of their requests, while two received partial funding. The 2020 Highest and Best Use Award winners (with award amounts) are:

Cultivating Happiness in Medicine

Award Amount: $1,000,000

Summary: 50% of physicians suffer from burnout, creating a public health crisis. Burnout costs the health system $4.6 billion annually ($27 million at Banner) and physicians suffering from burnout are twice as likely to commit a medical error, demonstrate low professionalism, and provide a poor patient experience. Physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession and 1 million patients lose their physician each year. Cultivating Happiness in Medicine (CHIM) is our system-wide strategy to improve physician well-being. We have an evidenced-based approach that improves well-being from six dimensions: operations (pebbles), leadership, design, individual wellness, social community, and second victims. 2019 was a foundational year for CHIM. From measuring burnout at Banner, launching 600 physician social community events, and creating a well-being resource center, to sponsoring process improvement initiatives, hosting a leadership summit, and a deploying a new physician development tool, CHIM has strong momentum going into 2020.

Innovative Stroke Care with

Award Amount: $800,000

Summary: is an artificial intelligence solution for improving stroke care. It was inspired by a patient who underwent successful brain surgery yet still died because the surgery came too late. Systemic – but preventable – process delays negated her care. A stroke happens every 40 seconds in the U.S. Time is brain: excellent treatments exist, but the longer a person waits for treatment, the more brain tissue dies, causing increased disability or death. Within the Banner system, our response time in communicating a stroke is 57 minutes; will reduce this to 6 minutes. Viz automatically analyzes CT scans of ER patients and alerts our stroke providers immediately via their smartphones. As a key initiative in our expanding Neurosciences service line, will partner with Banner Telehealth initiatives, transfer partners, and care specialists to ensure more patients get the best and fastest care possible.

Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Program

Award Amount: $820,000

Summary: Each day, five children die nationally of abuse—equivalent to childhood cancer death rates. All childhood abuse deaths are preventable. The Banner SCAN (Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect) Program supports children subjected to possible maltreatment, including physical and sexual abuse and neglect, that present within the Banner Health system. The program’s team of specialists provide evaluation, education and prevention services through in-person consultation and remote support throughout the Banner network. American College of Surgeons and Arizona state designation criteria require all Trauma Centers have capacity to evaluate child abuse. Banner hospitals evaluated over 4,000 children for potential maltreatment in 2019 alone. Timely identification and evaluation of so many children requires a robust SCAN program.

Cardiac Transport with MOBI-ECMO

Award Amount: $812,613

Summary: For very sick patients, access to care can mean a decision between a long, dangerous trip to a far-away hospital or less sophisticated care at their local community hospital. Utilizing extracorporeal (outside the body) life support, Banner – University Medical Center can further its expertise and invest in mobile ECMO technology to reach patients in our community who are considered too fragile to be transported. MOBI-ECMO, which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, is an advanced life-support therapy that functions for the heart and lungs when the organs fail or need rest, such as before a surgery or when waiting for a transplant. As Banner Health continues to grow our cardiovascular and transplant service lines, offering this technology will allow us to extend our reach and expertise beyond the hospital to support patients in need, while also further building our brand and reputation.

Coordinated Care for Suicide Prevention

Award Amount: $700,000

Summary: Obtaining psychiatric care in a timely manner is a major challenge. The Emergency Department is frequently the primary entry point when someone is having a psychiatric crisis. Going to a congested ED during a psychiatric crisis can be a very frustrating experience, as a typical ED visit for a patient with a psychiatric disorder can take up to three times longer than a typical medical visit. Our solution provides an opportunity to streamline care delivery to psychiatric patients within the Banner Health EDs. Bringing Telehealth, Transfer Services and Clinical Intake Services into one location, on the Banner Behavioral Health Hospital campus, will allow us to communicate more efficiently and prevent unnecessary longer lengths of stay for this vulnerable population.

Drug Confirmation Testing for Women & Infant Services

Award Amount: $138,586

Summary: Women and Infant Services utilize drug testing to make evidence-based decisions around breastfeeding, social worker support, and newborn intervention in high-risk situations. Caregivers need definitive and timely results to support decisions being made for mothers and newborns. In 2019, Banner Arizona performed obstetric drug screens for 6,700 patients onsite; however, 2,000 mothers needed follow-up testing for definitive results. Follow-up testing is not currently performed in any Arizona hospital or clinical laboratory; the testing is sent out of state with a 3- to 5-day turnaround. The Toxicology department at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix performs specialty drug testing for overdose and poisoning patients. Adding an instrument would enable development of follow-up drug testing with definitive results available to all Arizona locations in 12-24 hours.