Children's hospitals, vendors tackle pediatric care projects

Image removed.Two major children's hospitals are teaming up with tech vendors on projects to advance pediatric care.

Boston Children's Hospital (pictured) and IBM, in conjunction with the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies, have created an online platform to provide virtual training and to allow providers to communicate with each other worldwide.

Called OPENPediatrics, it's an application that physicians and nurses who care for critically ill children can download. The free content includes peer-reviewed lectures, simulators, and protocols on critical care to improve medical education even in areas with few resources.

A beta version launched last September and so far is being field-tested by 1,000 users in 74 countries. It combines the medical expertise of Boston Children's Hospital with IBM's technology infrastructure, which includes social networking, cloud computing, data analytics, video, and simulation technologies, according to an announcement.

Separately, Children's National Health System and Cerner Corp. have launched a pediatric health informatics venture called The Bear Institute. Their seven-year partnership is focused on using health IT to advance evidence-based pediatric care delivery, research, and education.

It wants to speed up development of fully-integrated electronic health record systems available to providers, families, educators and researchers and offer capabilities such as linking genomic profiles to decision support for personalized healthcare; matching patient information with a database of open clinical trials for research opportunities; and enabling more nimble patient and family engagement with portals and mobile devices.

Pediatricians have been slower than docs in other specialties to adopt EHRs, largely because they say the technology doesn't really fit their needs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality earlier this year announced they're creating  a new format to better capture and process health information about children.

Meanwhile, mobile applications and web portals hold the potential to improve care coordination for children with complex chronic conditions, Boston Children's asserted in a paper that was part of a collaboration with the Verizon Foundation.

To learn more:
- find the Boston Children's/IBM announcement
- here's the Children's National/Cerner announcement

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