Stories about: pediatrics

New app streamlines and improves emergency care

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.

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App-solute adherence: Using mobile technology to prevent transplant rejection

A new smartphone app could help teenagers remember to take their medications on time. Image courtesy of www.thatsnicephotography.co.uk

After an organ transplant, patients need to adjust to a lot of strict routines. This is hard, especially for teenagers who are trying to navigate adolescence. Some young patients say it’s difficult to remember when they need to take all their medications to prevent organ rejection, especially when they’re not feeling ill. Others complain that their parents’ constant harping to follow their care team’s instructions makes them want to do the exact opposite.

No matter the reason, thousands of teenagers are at risk of compromising their grafted organ.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Pediatric Transplant Center are developing a smartphone application that they hope will help adolescents understand the importance of taking care of themselves. But they realize that it’s not enough to take a clinical approach and it give an app makeover. In other words, to truly make an impact on teenagers, the app needs to be more than an electronic version of their parents.

“We really need to create ways to communicate with young patients that’s right for their age and treatment stage,” says Kristine McKenna, PhD, a psychologist with the Pediatric Transplant Center. “If you’re too patriarchal, or if you try to dumb things down too much, teens pick up on that and resent it. But if it’s too high-level they can become overwhelmed.”

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Second sight for anesthesiologists

Anesthesiologists have to get by and around a lot of things in order to put a breathing tube into a surgery patient. Kai Matthes thinks that using a pair of endoscopes could make the job easier. (National Cancer Institute)

Intubating the patient is a critical step in any surgery where general anesthesia is being used. But as any anesthesiologist will tell you, intubating a child is very different from an adult, largely because there is less space available in which to maneuver the breathing (aka endotracheal) tube.

There’s also less space in which to see. To place a breathing tube properly and keep the airway open, an anesthesiologist needs to see the patient’s vocal chords and the opening of his or her windpipe. Typically, the doctor uses a laryngoscope to see into the throat, but sometimes tumors, congenital anomalies, inflammation, or other obstructions block the view.

The next tool of choice would be a fiber optic endoscope – essentially a long, thin, tubular video camera – to peer within the throat. Sometimes, however, even the fiber optic scope can’t get a full view, and on occasion the scope and tube can get in each other’s way, making the anesthesiologist’s job harder and the procedure riskier.

But here’s a thought: If one scope can’t do the trick, what about two?

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Children’s partnership with Pfizer: A new way to speed therapeutic development

Over the past nine months, Pfizer has built collaborations with a number of premiere academic medical centers, including Children’s Hospital Boston. Wednesday marked the launch of the Boston branch of Pfizer’s Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI), fostering independent collaborations with seven Boston institutions. The CTI aims to facilitate and support joint drug discovery and development — from the conception of an idea through early clinical trials.

So why is Children’s Hospital Boston, the #1 pediatric hospital in the country with an annual research base of $225 million, entering into a partnership with Pfizer? Simply, Pfizer has complementary knowledge, resources and infrastructure to support a number of our therapeutic projects. Pfizer, and other companies, can help us move early-stage discoveries out of the lab and safely into the clinic more quickly than we could on our own, ultimately supporting our mission.

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