Georgetown Team Wins Health Care Competition

March 27, 2017 – Three Georgetown University graduate students won a competition focused on health care “innovation” held on campus this past Saturday.

Elizabeth Inyang (G’17), Trang Vu (G’17), and Grace Lacayo (G’17), who are all completing a master’s degree in health systems administration at the School of Nursing & Health Studies, competed with their proposal “CURA Systems,” which is an emergency-department-focused tool to help hospitals manage the care of repeat patient visitors.

“A common scenario for emergency departments,” the students outline in their proposal, “wait times are high, patients are deteriorating and dissatisfied, and beds are being occupied by ‘frequent flyers’ – recurring patients that don’t actually need to be in the ED. Administrators are increasingly concerned with the overutilization of ED resources, unsustainable rising costs, and truly providing quality care to every walk-in patient.”

Better Health Care

Their winning idea? “CURA Systems was created exactly to fulfill this purpose,” they write. “CURA is a software system for automatic flagging, tracking, and management of frequent flyer patients. It is able to integrate with any major [electronic health record] system and collect patient data.”

The students hope the system improves overall health care for these patients, as well as helps emergency rooms improve their operations and reduce costs.

‘Especially Impressed’

Christopher J. King, PhD, FACHE, directs the master’s program and helped plan the event with the National Association of Health Services Executives’ Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter.

“Evaluated by four independent judges, the team received the highest ratings for creativity, relevance, applicability, scalability, and delivery,” King says. “Judges were especially impressed with the team’s presentation skills and the ability to apply a systems approach to a very complex issue.”

The students – who were advised by Robert Friedland, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Health Systems Administration – earned a $2,000 prize. In addition to Georgetown, competitors represented George Washington University and the University of Maryland.

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