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:
When runners in the Boston Marathon reach the finish line they’re immediately given a Mylar blanket to keep them warm. When nurse practitioner Karen Sakakeeny saw this she immediately had an idea–what if this same principle could be applied to infants in the pediatric intensive care unit. She came up with a hat that can keep babies warm while they’re undergoing surgery. It may look like just a hat, but the flaps mean it’s easy to put on and take off and even has openings where tubes can enter. From a marathon to Children’s Hospital, Karen Sakakeeny shows how ideas can come from the most unexpected places.
Dcotor John Brownstein’s HealthMap shows illnesses as they occur in real time.
The online site draws from newspaper articles, eyewitness reports, expert-
curated discussions and validated official reports to track emerging public health threats. Through a website (healthmap.org) and mobile app (‘Outbreaks Near Me’), HealthMap can predict contagious outbreaks weeks before the Center for Disease Control. The application facilitates early detection of global public health threats like H1N1 influenza and even created online ads in partnership with the movie Contagion to create awareness about global health trends.
Vgo, mobile robot
When kids go home after surgeries they must be monitored and checking on their recovery often means more trips to the doctor. But Vgo, a mobile robot created in partnership with IBM, allows doctors to speak directly with patients via a screen on Vgo’s “face.” Doctor Bob Nguyen says, “patients and families interact with the mobile robot as if it were an embodiment of their health care provider.” In the future, Nguyen and his team of developers would like to create games on the Vgo to help kids further engage with the device. If they can see an avatar of themselves on the screen they’re more likely to connect with the robot and trust that it has their well-being in mind. These ideas may become a reality soon since developers took third place in the MIT Health and Wellness Hackathon earning $2,000 to use toward creating the avatar functionality.
Mobile triage to detect plagiocephaly
Being a parent comes with a whole host of concerns. But as Doctor Joe Madsen pointed out at Innovation Day, we all have a tool in our pockets that can detect whether or not a newborn has a flat head (plagiocephaly): a cell phone. By taking photos of a baby’s head and sending them in to a physician the physician can respond instantly and quell fears or schedule a consultation. Because babies spend so much time on their backs, their skulls sometimes flatten, and it’s important to detect this change early. Dr. Madsen’s telemedicine solution enhances efficiency in the clinic and saves parents time.
If you like these innovations, stay tuned for a video series we’ll be debuting in the next few weeks.