As senior manager of clinical services and operations at Emory Healthcare, Grace Bendinger strives to create a positive experience for patients. For example, she leads the hospital’s nurse navigator program, which pairs cancer patients with a registered nurse who serves as the point of contact throughout their treatment journey.
Science and technology are the backbone of healthcare, but creativity and innovation play a huge role in the field as well. Which is why Bendinger is pursuing a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies in Biomedical Enterprise from Georgia State—and why she completed Robinson’s Innovation Studio course as an elective.
“Especially with coronavirus, we’ve had to exercise flexibility and agility in how we deliver healthcare,” Bendinger said. “The Innovation Studio class taught me how to explore problems and solutions that are important to our patients.”
Through the course, Bendinger built the prototype for an app that connects the components of the healthcare system. Currently, those components are fragmented and complex: making an appointment, negotiating with insurance, filling a prescription. Bendinger’s app removes those silos. The platform also helps users navigate a new diagnosis with a checklist of prioritized steps.
“It can be painful to get through the slog of trying to understand a disease. People tend to find out about resources after the fact,” Bendinger said. “There’s a huge opportunity to help patients make informed choices along the way.”
Bendinger is more tech savvy than the average nurse but felt apprehensive about developing an app. The class is designed to snowball concepts week by week, and makes it possible for people of all backgrounds to achieve technical competence.
“I never thought I would be able to tell anybody I know how to build an app,” Bendinger said. “The Innovation Studio changed that.”