MaineHealth INNOVATION is…

MaineHealth INNOVATION is…



Innovation runs throughout our history and it will shape our future. As a core value of MaineHealth, innovation is embedded in the daily work of our care team members. In 2020, MaineHealth demonstrated its commitment to innovation by establishing the MaineHealth Innovation division, which is strategically positioned alongside medical education and research, and serves as the connective tissue between research, education and care. I am thrilled to share our inaugural report which celebrates all that MaineHealth Innovation and our partners have built together in just two years.

MaineHealth Innovation achieves the MaineHealth vision of “working together so our communities are the healthiest in America” by leveraging the insights of our 22,000 care team members. Our people are the experts in care who see challenges worth solving every day. We have the insights and curiosity into how we deliver care today, and how we can deliver it in the future. Together, and with the support of our strategic partners across Northern New England, we are transforming care through innovation.

We define innovation as a novel idea that solves an unmet healthcare need. We are discovering that innovation is as simple as a headband to hold oxygen tubes. We are learning that innovation is applying emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in the primary care setting to transform the way our care team members prevent blindness in rural diabetic patients. Innovation relies on novel ideas and challenging the status quo, thinking differently, researching and testing ideas, and creating a safe space to brainstorm ideas. We serve our brave and passionate MaineHealth innovators by providing connections, education and funding to bring those ideas to life.

Our work will continue to explore new care team models, revenue streams and collaborations. We will foster our culture of innovation from Damariscotta, Maine, to Portland, Maine, to North Conway, New Hampshire. Come join us as, together, we will dream big, inspire and impact care – and have fun doing it.

Susan AhernWith gratitude,

Susan Ahern signature

Susan Ahern
Vice President of Innovation


As an innovator from the beginning of her career as a nationally recognized nurse and home healthcare leader, Donna always knew the right questions to ask and the right people to ask to advance care.

Read the Full Dedication
Donna Deblois




Innovation is defined as a MaineHealth value.

MaineHealth values


A 2-year survey of healthcare innovation across the nation is concluded to inform the direction of MaineHealth Innovation.


MaineHealth INNOVATION is formed.

The MaineHealth Innovation division was formed to foster a culture of innovation and develop infrastructure and programs to support system-wide innovation.

  • The first Innovation Center space is established at Maine Medical Center in Portland, ME.
  • The Brewing Ideas Coffee Corner is created for MaineHealth care team members to connect and network.
  • The MaineHealth Innovation Cohort, which started as a Maine Medical Center program in 2018, is offered system-wide.
  • The MaineHealth Innovation Elective is launched through the Tufts University School of Medicine for fourth year medical students.
  • The MaineHealth Innovation Fund is launched. The inaugural program is offered as the Ignite Fund which provides up to $20,000 in funding for early innovations.
  • MaineHealth Innovation and its strategic partner, The Roux Institute at Northeastern University, create the Innovation Blender series to brainstorm innovative solutions to healthcare opportunities.
  • The MaineHealth Intellectual Property Policy is updated and approved by the MaineHealth Board of Trustees to include all MaineHealth health care team members.


  • The MaineHealth Innovation Fund is expanded to offer the Bonfire Fund, which provides an investment of up to $100,000 in a MaineHealth care team member company to accelerate an advanced innovation.
  • The community-facing MaineHealth Innovation location at The Roux Institute in Portland, ME, is opened to encourage collisions with the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • The MaineHealth Intellectual Property & Business Development Committee is formed to provide MaineHealth innovators with business expertise and connections.


MaineHealth Innovation aims to foster a culture of innovation together. At MaineHealth, innovation is defined as a novel idea that solves an unmet care need through new care team models, products or services. Multi-disciplinary collaboration is key and pivoting is part of the process. Solving problems creatively provides an opportunity to have fun and work better together.


1 Foster a culture of innovation

2 Strengthen innovation infrastructure

3 Curate a suite of tools to support innovation


blue circle that reads "connect" with an orange arrow pointing to a blue circle that reads "educate" with an orange arrow pointing to a blue circle that reads "fund"

2020-2021 IMPACT

Innovators Engaged
Innovation Projects Explored
Patents Filed
Programs Launched
Invested in Innovation Projects
External Funds Received by Innovators
Innovation Cabinet Members & Advisors
Innovation Clinical Coaches
Intellectual Property & Business Development Committee Members
  • 49 Innovators Engaged

  • 34 Innovation Projects Explored

  • 11 Patents Filed

  • 5 Programs Launched

  • 2 Locations

  • $337k Invested in Innovation Projects

  • $93k External Funds Received by Innovators

  • 10 Innovation Cabinet Members & Advisors

  • 10 Innovation Clinical Coaches

  • 8 Intellectual Property & Business Development Committee Members