Stories about: Technology

When kids live far from health care, telehealth may be a lifeline


Did you know that at least 15 million children in the U.S. live in “Health Professional Shortage Areas” (HPSAs), defined as regions with an average of less than one health professional for every 3,500 people?  Far from hospitals, primary care doctors and specialists, these kids often miss out on getting the care they need. Telehealth can help bridge the gap between health professionals and these communities.

Our sister blog Vector spotlights various initiatives that have creatively used telehealth to care for children in remote areas.  The results are encouraging: timely, cost-effective care — when insurance regulations cooperate.

Read more about telehealth and HPSAs on Vector.

What’s in a fever? New app casts wide net for data

feverprints asks "what's in a fever?"“Do you have a fever?” Seems like a simple, straightforward question to ask someone.  The answer is either “yes” or “no,” and the criteria are clear-cut.  Right?

Actually, what constitutes a fever is quite subjective, and the diagnostic science is inexact.

Jared Hawkins, MMSc, PhD, the director of Informatics for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA), says that a number of factors — including age, size, and time of day — can influence a person’s “normal” temperature.

In collaboration with the Boston Children’s Autoinflammatory Diseases Clinic, IDHA has designed a free i-Phone application that captures temperature data from the public and applies the crowdsourcing model to science. The app, called “Feverprints,” uses Apple’s ResearchKit to aggregate and analyze the data to answer questions that will advance fever research.

Learn more about this innovation on our sister blog, Vector.

Read Vector’s coverage of Feverprints.

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The data are there. Let patients have them. Here’s why.

patient health data electronic medical record patient-controlled health records

Twenty-two years ago, MIT computer scientist Peter Szolovits put forward the idea of creating online repositories where patients could bring all of their health data and manage who can access it. Since then, the health IT industry has made a couple of attempts to create such patient-controlled health records (PCHRs; think Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault).

In reality, patients are no closer now to having direct access to and control over their health data than they were in 1994. But maybe now the time is right. What the health care system has finally achieved, Kenneth Mandl, MD, MPH, and Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School (HMS), say in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), is the critical mass of supply and demand that should help get PCHRs off the ground:

  • With widespread adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems, at least some of any given patient’s data are likely available electronically, albeit locked up within individual institutions.
  • Patients want to be able to manage their health information.
  • Providers, developers and researchers are calling for access to those data.

So what more, Mandl and Kohane ask, needs to be done? …Read More

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Hacking Pediatrics mixes clinicians, developers, designers and more for health care innovation

Hacking Pediatrics mashup man woman laptops health care innovation

Our sister blog Vector recaps the 2015 Hacking Pediatrics Mashup, a 12-hour event that brought together 17 teams of clinicians, developers, designers and engineers to collaborate and hack technologies aimed at tackling a wide range of pediatric health care problems:

The majority of the pediatric products or solutions pitched came from residents and fellows, but there were plenty of non-millennials among the hackers—most notably, 97-year-old pediatrician and author T. Berry Brazelton, MD, founder of the Touchpoints Center, who came up from Cape Cod to join a hack that would help nurses tune in to children’s developmental needs.

Enthusiasm ran high, not only among the clinicians bringing pain points to be hacked, but also the software developers, IT companies, designers, MBA students and other mentors — and even the judges.

Among the top hacks were a gaming-inspired technology aimed at making medication adherence easy for kids and parents, a suicide prevention app and home platform for collecting oximetry data.

Learn more about the Hacking Pediatrics Mashup on Vector.

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