Stories about: healthcare innovation

Bringing voice technology to healthcare: Hacking with Amazon’s Alexa

voice technology healthcare
Kate Donovan, clinical advisor to IDHA, conducts a simulated inpatient demo of Alexa.

Earlier this spring, Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) released KidsMD for Amazon’s Alexa, the voice technology system’s first healthcare “skill.” It offers simple health advice for parents inquiring about their child’s fever and medication doses at home. But fever is just the beginning. Where else in a patient’s journey could voice be leveraged?

In collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital’s Simulator Program (SIMPeds), IDHA brought Alexa to a two-part mini-hackathon on May 25. Patients and their families, clinicians, developers and researchers were invited to watch and join demonstrations of voice technology across the hospital. In the breakout hack sessions that followed, participants brainstormed future applications for voice at Boston Children’s.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Defining the ROI for health care innovation

Naomi Fried, PhD, is Chief Innovation Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Return on innovation ROI

When people hear about ROI, they often think of financial returns and “return on investment.” But, in my world, ROI is actually “return on innovation.” While the return on innovation can be financial, it can also take many other forms. Here are my top five.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

What is meaningful patient engagement?

"Engagement" can take many forms, not all of them authentic. (Jim Bowen/Flickr)
‘Engagement’ can take many forms, not all of them authentic. (Jim Bowen/Flickr)

Richard Antonelli, MD, is a primary care pediatrician and medical director of Integrated Care and Physician Relations and Outreach at Boston Children’s Hospital. He also co-chairs the Task Force on Care Coordination for Children with Behavioral Health Needs, a group within the Massachusetts Child Health Quality Coalition.

Tools and apps designed to engage children and families in their care are proliferating. But are they meaningful? At its best, patient engagement isn’t just technology that brings lab results and medication reminders to a patient’s or parent’s iPhone. It’s about creating a relationship in which families are able to specify their care needs; clinicians and families learn from each other; and patients and families are able to manage their own care.

Patients and families are not just consumers of health care—they define goals and priorities. Their insights are essential.

A powerful tool for supporting a meaningful family/provider relationship is the Care Map. It was developed by Cristin Lind, parent of a child with special needs, who found herself in the role of care coordinator,

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Top 10 science and innovation trends for 2013

(Garry Knight/Flickr)

Vector has been deliberating about its predictions for 2013, consulting its many informants. Here’s where we’re putting our money this year; if you have other ideas, scroll to the bottom and let us know.

Genome sequencing scaling up at health care institutions

Last year we predicted genome sequencing’s entry into the clinic; this could be the year it goes viral. Technology companies with ever-faster sequencers and academic medical centers are teaming up at a brisk pace to offer genomic tests to patients. Just in the past two weeks, a deal was announced between The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and BGI-Shenzhen to sequence pediatric brain tumors; Partners HealthCare and Illumina Inc. announced a network of genomic testing laboratories;

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Empowering patients: Intelligent devices and apps for better health

Melinda Tang, MEng, is a software developer for the Innovation Acceleration Program at  Boston Children’s Hospital.

When children return home from the hospital after surgery, parents can be overwhelmed by the written information and instructions for follow-up. At the MIT Media Lab’s Health and Wellness Hackathon earlier this year, the focus was on empowering patients to take an active role in their health. As my colleague Brian Rosman described, our team from Boston Children’s Hospital attended and spent two weeks developing “Ralph,” a mobile application for managing post-operative care that incorporates an avatar and features of gaming to engage and motivate children to follow their regimen. I was one of the primary programmers for our group.

We won third place, working alongside five other talented teams. Here are some snapshots of what they were up to — helping patients manage asthma, diabetes, pain, cardiac rehab and more.

Read Full Story | 2 Comments | Leave a Comment

Hacking our way to a new mobile app

Brian Rosman holds up a tablet app he and a team of Children's and MIT Media Lab staff developed over the past two weeks during the Health and Wellness Hackathon

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.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Top 10 science and clinical innovation trends: Looking forward to 2012

Here once again is Vector’s take on some exciting trends we’ve been watching in the pediatric health arena and what we expect to see more of this year. If you’ve got others to propose, scroll to the bottom and let us know!

Genomics is starting to provide clinically actionable information (Michael Knowles/Flickr)

Whole-genome sequencing enters the clinic
In 2000, with our genome deciphered, the Human Genome Project promised to transform medicine, predicting and preventing all that ails us. The project spawned next-generation technologies, accelerated the development of bioinformatics and shaped new perspectives on research. But if, say, a stroke patient was asked the question, “Is your life any better than 10 years ago thanks to advent of genomics?” the answer would have to be “no.” Hence the New York Times’s assertion in 2010 that the project yielded few new cures.

Now that paradigm seems to be shifting. Whole-genome sequencing has begun moving into the clinic, sleuthing out problems, offering hope for a medicine that’s more effective and more personal. 2011 saw genomic information provide biochemical insights timely and actionable enough to improve the treatment of individuals with cancer and dystonia, and, in a case at Children’s, failure to thrive and severe kidney calcification.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Having the will and the passion to make disruption happen: Reflections from TEDMED 2011

Margaret Coughlin is a Senior Vice President and the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Children’s Hospital Boston

Disruption. A core ideal of the TEDMED conference. I’m in a senior strategic marketing position at Children’s Hospital Boston, in a healthcare world in dire need of solutions. What can I do as an individual to spark disruption, change the course?

Brilliant individuals from all over the world have converged here.  From biology lab leaders to the U.S. Surgeon General (yes, she is here) – they’ve all convened to share, to educate and to think. The ideas are flying, and the different disciplines are connecting dots that at first glance make no sense. Worlds are colliding and combining and then dividing again. Art, sensing technology, mobile devices, biology and on and on are merging to create solutions to an uncountable number of healthcare problems.

The fundamental question, though, is why doesn’t this happen every day, and happen faster?

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment