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Frontline and support staff tend to be underrepresented as innovators within a healthcare organization, with most outreach efforts targeting physicians and researchers. In fact, a review of our MedStar Health invention portfolio revealed a lack of invention disclosures from nursing and other frontline support staff.

MedStar Inventor Services, which assists MedStar Health associates in evaluating and potentially commercializing their ideas, shadowed nurses working and found that they are constantly innovating on the fly. Many times, these just-in-time innovations are considered to be “workarounds” which are generally discouraged due to concerns about safety and standard practice. However, many of these ideas are value-added solutions.


MedStar Inventor Services developed a program to recognize the innovation potential of frontline staff, consistent with safety and standard practices. The MInnovations program was created to:

  • capture the small everyday innovations of MedStar Health associates that help them do their jobs better and more efficiently

  • harness the intellectual capital and celebrate the innovative spirit of MedStar Health associates

  • scale the use of an innovative idea from one to many

  • increase the number of inventions within the MedStar Health system that may have commercial potential

A MInnovation is an innovative, practical solution created by a MedStar Health associate that is already in use, can be easily replicated by other MedStar Health associates, and conforms to current safety guidelines and clinical practices. For example, members of the MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center Behavioral Health team discovered that paintball arm guards offered improved protection and better mobility while working with agitated patients than armguards designed for healthcare settings. This discovery was later designated as a MInnovation and shared with other teams.

While the program was inviting submissions, when nurses and other frontline staff identified that a solution they created met the MInnovations criteria, they were able to submit it for review. Each submission was evaluated by an assessment team of frontline nurses, nurse educators, quality and safety personnel, and MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare staff. MInnovations were assessed for safety and conformity to standard practices, and related feedback or adjustments were communicated with the associate who submitted. Approved MInnovations were then disseminated through the MInnovations online marketplace for other associates to learn about or adopt if appropriate to their work.


The MInnovations program was started at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, an American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet-recognized hospital. More than 25 MInnovations were formally submitted and assessed, with 23 granted full approval.

Multiple MInnovations have been assessed for their commercial potential. One is the subject of a patent application and won the Cool Idea Award, sponsored by the now-concluded Cleveland Clinic Healthcare Innovations Alliance (of which MedStar Health was a member) and Protolabs (a medium scale manufacturing company). Click here to read Protolabs’ press release. The inventor also joined the inaugural class of the Builders + Backers program at MedStar Health to leverage additional resources in the journey toward potentially bringing the innovation to market.

The MInnovations program was also included in MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center’s Magnet recertification application in 2018 as part of the organization’s roadmap to nursing excellence. Anecdotally, the MInnovations program has successfully contributed to MedStar Health’s efforts to retain nurses and boost satisfaction, especially for those with two to four years’ experience. Participating nurses have expressed pride in being recognized as an innovator and in improving patient care within their team and beyond.

The program concluded during the COVID-19 pandemic as nurses have risen to historic new challenges, and this case study was updated at the start of fiscal year 2024 to continue celebrating these MInnovations and those who created them.

Featured MInnovations Advancing to Available Technologies


News and Blogs
  • Vizient, “Nurses Leading Innovation

    Note: Advance to 23:23 in this webinar, hosted by a nursing performance improvement company, to hear MedStar Inventor Services Director Steve Kinsey join other leaders in discussing the MInnovations program.

Full List of MInnovations and Credited Inventors

Note: Affiliated location at the time of submission was MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center unless listed otherwise.

  • Antibiogram Website: Allowed MedStar Health providers online access to hospital-specific antibiogram profile.
    • Lynne V Karanfil, RN, MA, CIC, FAPIC, MedStar Infection Prevention
  • Bed Frame Cable Holder: Suspended multiple device cords off the floor.
    • Helena Crescini
  • Bedrail IV Line Holder: Decreased unnecessary weight and pull on the central line and dressing.
    • Dustin Tanasecu
  • Belt Loop Cinch: Provided a safe belt for behavioral health patients.
    • Rebecca Landreth, MS, BSN, RN
  • Berkley Nurse Sleeve: Leveraged quarterback sleeve for jotting down patient information while keeping it protected from prying eyes.
    • Joyce Berkley, RN
  • BP Transducer Securement Strap: Used to help keep a transducer at the correct placement.
    • Dustin Tanasecu
  • Caddy System: Carried a Mayo stand with the procedure cart.
    • Robert Molyneaux, PA-C, MedStar Washington Hospital Center
  • DeArroz Kidney Stone Filter: Used a plastic urinal, gauze, and a rubber band to filter a passed stone from a Foley catheter collection bag.
    • Myla DeArroz, RN
  • Environmental Rounding Data System (ERDS): Allowed those with minimal computer skills to manage any deficiencies in the environment of care through a simple graphic user interface.
    • Michael Feist, MS, CHEP
  • Epidural Task Trainer: Provided an innovative and inexpensive way for residents to practice epidural technique.
    • John Yosaitis, MD
  • Gravity Feed Syringe Holder: A 3D-printed syringe holder that improves ease and efficiency of neonatal intensive care.
    • Tiffany Morris, RN
  • Human Factors’ Pediatric Dosing Charts: Helped determine the correct dose of children's medications through a chart.
    • MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare
  • IV Line Supply Cart Clear Waste Disposal: Minimized clutter on the on the vascular access cart.
    • Debbie Rouse, BSN, RN-BC, VA-BC
  • Medication Organizer: Supported needs through cabinet for small parts.
    • Karen Murdy, RN
  • Mesh Underwear Bra: Re-purposed mesh underwear into a bra to keep female behavioral health patients safe and adequately clothed.
    • Rebecca Landreth, MS, BSN, RN
  • Nida IV Pole Bed Clamp: Secured a secondary IV bag hangar clip onto the bedrail to tow the IV pole during transport when only one transport tech was available.
    • Nicole Nida, RN
  • OR Block Tool: Improved operating room block schedules through an Excel-based tool.
    • Matt D'Agostino
  • Paintball Arm Guard: Protected clinicians from physical injury by a behavioral health patient.
    • Rebecca Landreth, MS, BSN, RN
  • Rapid Access Falls Cart: Stored falls-related equipment and supplies in one convenient place for rapid access.
    • Lori Temple, RN
  • Swift Up-down Labels for IV Lines: Used blank patient chart information labels to note when an IV line was hung and when it should be changed.
    • Akira Swift, RN
  • Tape Shoe Lace: Replaced shoelaces of at-risk patients in a safe and innovative way
    • Rebecca Landreth, MS, BSN, RN
  • Waller Stroke Kardex: Compiled all the necessary patient health information nurses needed to care for their patients without referencing the EMR.
    • Sheila Waller, CMSRN, BSN
  • Wancowicz O2 Line Connector: Leveraged a thermometer probe when the supplied connectors were out of stock.
    • Lacy Wancowicz, RN

Page last updated: 7/28/23
Page first published: 10/10/19


Practical innovations, created by and for MedStar Health associates, help improve patient care and provider experiences


MedStar Inventor Services in partnership with MedStar Health frontline caregivers and support staff