It was a chance encounter. Eugenia Chan, MD, MPH, and Eric Fleegler, MD, MPH, both worked at Boston Children’s Hospital, and had met one another once or twice, but only in passing.
Running into each other at a conference, they fell to chatting. Chan, a pediatrician in Developmental Medicine, was looking for a way to measure how well patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were responding to their medications. Fleegler, an emergency physician and health services researcher, described an online software program he developed to screen patients for health-related social problems and connect them with relevant services.
Two years later, Chan and Fleegler launched ICISS, the Integrated Clinical Information Sharing System, which monitors patients with ADHD and their changing medication responses.
It may seem like just a smartphone application, but BEAPPER, a real-time alert and communication platform, has been making waves in the Emergency Department (ED) at Boston Children’s Hospital, which sees an average of 150 patients per day.
The app sends Twitter-like alerts when beds become available, when orders have been placed and when lab results are back, reducing waiting time for families. Physicians working together can view each others’ profiles, and can quickly check on their patients’ status without having to sit down at a computer and log in.
“What is the purpose of healthcare?”To a room full of doctors, nurses and other healthcare experts at Boston Children’s Hospital it was a startling question—justifying why they save lives was not part of their everyday experience.
“It may seem like a crazy question but it’s important to ask why we do what we do,” said Rodrigo Martinez, life sciences chief strategist from the international design firm IDEO, during a monthly Innovator’s Forum at the hospital. “Is it to care? Is it for us to feel better? Is it for us to have less emotional trauma in our lives?”
One audience member admitted that a lot of his time in the Emergency Department is spent reporting what he does. “During an eight hour shift, I may spend a significant amount of time recording all the things I’ve done to help a patient, but that’s time I’m not with the patient.” Martinez nodded.
For Debra Weiner, MD, PhD, working in the Emergency Medicine Department is a numbers game. During a 12-hour shift she works with more than 50 other providers, sees up to 25 patients and analyzes multiple lab results. Every day she’s also meeting new staff members in addition to new patients.
“People don’t know each other,” Weiner said at a recent Innovators’ Forum, a monthly internal lecture series intended to showcase and encourage new developments at Children’s Hospital Boston. “We have over 100 nurses and physicians and over 200 trainees that filter in [every two to four weeks]… it’s hard to remember who everyone is and what they do.”
Coupled with the frenetic pace of Children’s Emergency Department (ED), remembering names and managing the flow of patients becomes a constant challenge.
On Tuesday, Children’s Hospital Boston featured its first Innovation Day. Organized by the Hospital’s Innovation Acceleration Program, which seeks to promote grass roots innovation within the hospital, the TEDMED style conference featured talks by 17 of the Hospital’s clinicians. Our Chief Innovation Officer Naomi Fried welcomed a packed house, which included attendees from across the country. Here we’re featuring some of the technologies that were revealed on Tuesday and how they’re changing the face of pediatric medicine:
At 10 a.m. he’s directing two actors on set, at 10:34 a.m. he’s filling up a catheter and at 11:01 a.m. he’s gushing about the importance of pediatric avatars. Brian Rosman, a Robotic Surgery Research Fellow in the Department of Urology at Children’s Hospital Boston, has been working non-stop at the MIT Media Lab’s Health & Wellness hackathon to create a new app for post-operative care. His duties have included directing a video about the app, rounding up realistic props and explaining how the program works to judges and hackathon attendees.
Rosman and his team of coders, clinicians and industry professionals are competing against five other teams for a $10,000 prize awarded to the best open source healthcare application.
Four-year-old Alina Siman is being kept alive on a device that gained approval in the U.S. just two weeks ago. The Berlin Heart Group’s EXCOR, a ventricular assist device manufactured in Berlin, Germany, takes over the normal function of a heart by pumping blood directly to the pulmonary artery and into the lungs.
With FDA approval granted on December 16, the U.S. joins Europe and Canada in offering the device for children of all ages with end stage heart failure.
Finding a gift for the average Joe is challenging enough, but what about your hard-to-please nerdy science friends? Luckily, Vector is here to help. We’ve scoured the Internet and found gifts for kids and adults that we think will pass the test.
We had three criteria when selecting gifts for Vector’s first-ever holiday gift guide: 1) creativity, 2) originality, and 3) quality. Each gift also had to be tied to science in some way. So without further ado, here are the six gifts that are at the top of our list this holiday season: