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Lisa Fratt

Daymond John, of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and a five-judge panel of venture capitalists and physicians selected two winners in the Innovation Tank at the Boston Children’s Hospital Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards. The judges awarded the fledgling companies CareAline and HubScrub—both of which have created products to help prevent catheter-associated infections—$12,500 each. The runner-up, Kurbo, received $5,000.

“What’s amazing about the Innovation Tank is that [the winners] don’t have to give up any of their company,” John said. The number-one reason new businesses don’t succeed is overfunding. That’s because aspiring entrepreneurs often take out substantial loans to fund their innovations.

Here’s a closer look at the three innovators who participated in the tank: Full story »

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Twenty percent of hospitals will close by the end of the decade, predicted bioethicist Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel MD, PhD, during a keynote address at the Boston Children’s Hospital Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards.

How can hospitals make the cut and stay alive? The only way is to deliver high-quality, low-cost care that elicits patient allegiance, said Emanuel, a former health advisor to President Barack Obama, the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of Reinventing American Health Care. Full story »

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At first, Peter Waters, MD, was a bit puzzled when he was asked to present at the 2014 Global Pediatric Innovation + Awards. Unlike some of his colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital, Waters, the hospital’s orthopedic surgeon-in-chief, hadn’t developed an orthopedic widget or led groundbreaking scientific research. But his innovation could ultimately be even more important.

Waters has leveraged an unlikely partnership with the NASCAR racing team Hendrick Motorsports to inject new levels of safety and collaboration into pediatric orthopedic surgery departments across the United States. Full story »

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“R&D is not always research and development. Sometimes it’s rip off and duplicate,” Bill Taylor, cofounder and founding editor of Fast Company magazine, said during his keynote address at the Boston Children’s Hospital Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards 2014.

In his address, titled “Tough Problems, New Remedies: A Practically Radical Prescription for Health Care,” Taylor encouraged innovators to look broadly across other fields and determine the health care version of the most successful players in those fields.
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A fleet of toddlers get ready to race in their Go Baby Go cars, customized by therapists and parents to provide disabled children with mobility and help them strengthen weak muscles.

Start your engines: A fleet of GoBabyGo cars, customized by therapists and parents to give disabled children mobility and help strengthen weak muscles. (Courtesy Cole Galloway)

TEDMED2014 focused on a powerful theme: unlocking imagination in service of health and medicine. Speaker after speaker shared tales of imagination, inspiration and innovation. Here are a few of our favorites:

$100 plastic car stands in for $25,000 power wheelchair

In the first (and likely only) National Institutes of Health-funded shopping spree at Toys R’ Us, Cole Galloway, director of the Pediatric Mobility Lab at the University of Delaware, and crew stocked up on pint-sized riding toys.

Galloway’s quest was to facilitate independence and mobility among disabled children from the age of six months and older and offer a low-tech solution during the five-year wait in the United States for a $25,000 power pediatric wheelchair.

The hackers jerry-rigged the toys with pool noodles, PVC pipe and switches, reconfiguring them as mobile rehabilitation devices to promote functional skills among kids with special needs. Full story »

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Small innovations can transform health care

Fixing a real problem, even a small one, can transform health care.

What can innovators do to work with investors and industry to move an idea toward commercialization? Speakers at the upcoming Global Pediatric Innovation Summit + Awards, hosted by Boston Children’s Hospital, have some simple advice: Don’t think your innovation has to be sexy.

Health care is plagued by problems that aren’t necessarily sexy or compelling, says Mandira Singh, MBA, of AthenaHealth, who will speak at the Summit’s Mobile & Digital Health panel. More than many other industries, it still depends on outdated technology. For example, it’s the only industry that continues to rely on fax machines. “These are small problems that need to be fixed,” Singh said recently at a Boston Children’s Hospital forum.

Instead of focusing on everyday challenges, innovators often think far out into the future—to where they think health care will be in 10 years. That can be a trap: Full story »

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My father had a favorite bit of advice as we embarked on our adult lives: “Go big or go home.” Going big is exactly what OPENPediatrics is doing, empowering physicians and nurses to care for children across the globe.

The Web-based digital learning platform was conceived 10 years ago by Jeffrey Burns, MD, MPH, chief of critical care at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Traci Wolbrink, MD, MPH, an associate in critical care. It concluded a year-long beta test in April 2014, and version 1 has now been launched.

Developed to impart critical care skills, OPENPediatrics uses lectures, simulators and protocols to deliver training. In the process, it has helped save lives. Full story »

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global health innovationZulfiqar Bhutta, MBBS, PhD, inaugural chair in global child health at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and founding director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, is a global child health superstar. Presidents, prime ministers and princes welcome his advice. Yet India ignored him when he called its proposed innovation to curb infant mortality “nonsense.” “I was dead wrong,” says Bhutta. “What happened is remarkable.”

The simple innovation, which Bhutta now publicly commends, cut perinatal mortality 25 percent. Full story »

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a wave of wearable devicesProjections that the global mobile health market will boom to nearly $50 billion have ignited interest among innovators. A pair of physician innovators from Boston Children’s Hospital peg wearables as the technology to watch and offer a sneak peek at what adoption might mean, while others ask about the pediatric market for wearables and point to a few potential stumbling blocks. Read on for their views. Full story »

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medical costsCan putting a price tag on childhood obesity propel treatment and prevention efforts into comprehensive action? Perhaps, says David Ludwig, MD, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital.

Although the U.S. Task Force on Childhood Obesity set a goal of dropping obesity prevalence among youth to 5 percent by 2030, efforts have failed to make a significant dent. Recent data indicate only slight dips in obesity prevalence among 6- to 19-year-olds in some states. And other data show that the prevalence of extreme obesity in children continues to rise.

With nearly 20 percent of U.S. children tipping the scales as obese, policymakers need not only to act but also to justify the investment in childhood obesity treatment and prevention programs.

Duke University researchers offered a helping hand in a review article in the April 7 online Pediatrics, estimating the incremental lifetime direct medical cost of childhood obesity. Their economic model showed a $19,000 incremental lifetime medical cost of an obese child relative to a normal-weight youth.

Ludwig, who directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital, provides insights into the next steps. Full story »

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