Author: Erin Horan

QuickNote: Does Tylenol really make asthma symptoms worse?


New research on Tylenol and asthma may surprise you

You may have heard that acetaminophen (Tylenol) can exacerbate asthma in children, and that alternative medications should be given to children with asthma when they experience pain or fever. A new study refutes this widely-held belief, and finds no correlation between Tylenol and increased asthma symptoms in children.

The study, published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, followed 300 children 1 – 5 years old with mild persistent asthma from 18 health care institutions. The patients were randomly divided into two groups: one was told to use acetaminophen as indicated for pain or fever, and the other was told to use ibuprofen. The study was conducted over a 48-week period.

During the nearly seven week follow-up period, researchers found no statistically significant difference in asthma rates or severity between the two groups.

Read the full text in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Alexa, how will voice technology change health care?

VECTOR_OverlayTemplate-800x450-AlexaHackathonYou know Siri can tell you if it’s going to rain and the British man on your GPS will always lead you home, but what can voice technology software bring to health care?

This spring, Amazon’s Alexa partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) to release its first health care “skill:” KidsMD. Users can ask the smart phone app for pediatric health advice the moment a concern arises.

Inspired by this new development, the Boston Children’s Simulator program held a “hackathon” to brainstorm other potential uses for voice technology in health care.

Read all about the ideas and insights that came out of the event on our sister blog, Vector.

Vector covers voice technology health care “hackathon”

5 ways your pediatric practice can address poverty

povertyJoanne Cox, MD has worked at the Primary Care Center at Boston Children’s Hospital for 30 years and served as director for the last 15.

“Every day, we see homeless children and children who’ve experienced violence in their home or community,” she says. “I’ve seen babies grow up in these situations and witnessed the long-term, negative affects … how it hinders them from succeeding in school and then from succeeding as young adults.”

The biggest issue, says Cox, is poverty. When it comes to social determinants of health — defined by the World Health Organization as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age” — poverty has the largest impact on health inequities. Studies show that children born into poverty have of infant mortality, low birth rate and chronic illnesses such as asthma, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

“When parents are focused on food, shelter and the needs of daily life, they’re focused on that and not parenting,” says Cox. “In our primary care clinic, we’ve done a lot to address these issues.”

Pediatricians have long been aware of the impact poverty has on the health of their patients, but addressing issues that extend beyond medical care is not easy. However, there are certain things that primary care clinics can do to help patients and families with social determinants of health. Cox recently co-authored a paper for Pediatrics that outlines practices such as these. …Read More

Collaborating with parents to improve patient care: lessons from a cardiac sedation nurse

collaborating with parents for pediatric health care

Anyone who’s a regular at a coffee shop can relate to this scene: you walk in, and the barista behind the counter notices you.  She waves, says your name, and you wave back.  By the time you get to the cash register, she’s already handing you your order — just the way you like it.

If your local coffee shop can prepare for your specific preferences, why can’t your health care team?

Often, the kinds of information not typically captured in a medical record are crucial to a patient’s experience. For example, if a child sucks his right thumb, his mother may tell the sedation nurse try to inserting the IV in his left arm first.  If a baby girl isn’t calmed by music but is mesmerized by a spinning toy, her father may want that toy in the room whenever she’s having an echocardiogram, so she sits still and the images are easier to interpret.

“Patients with chronic conditions return quite frequently to the same clinic for follow-up care and tests, and they shouldn’t have to repeat the same information each time,” says Brenda Brawn, RN, BSN, CCRN. “It’s not extraneous information; it can and should be incorporated into their plan of care.”

Brawn has been piloting a way to address this need in her work as a cardiac sedation nurse caring for pediatric heart transplant patients.

…Read More