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Wish Blog

Jul 02, 2019

Innovations in Pediatric Healthcare

At Make-A-Wish, every child we serve has been diagnosed with a critical illness. Most of these illnesses require sophisticated medical care in order to cure or improve the health of the child.

Fortunately, advances are being made every day that are making pediatric healthcare safer, easier and more effective.

The Children's Hospital Association ( recently published, “19 Trends, Technologies and Techniques That Will Change the Way Children's Hospitals Deliver Care,” which outlines some of the most recent innovations in pediatric healthcare delivery. The highlights are summarized below but you can read this interesting piece in its entirety by clicking HERE.

Virtual reality
VR/AR software customized for pediatrics distracts patients and changes their perceptions of pain—improving outcomes and decreasing the need for pain medications.

Organ donor compatibility
Traditionally, doctors assess the compatibility of a donor heart to a recipient using weight- and height-based parameters. John Dykes, M.D., clinical assistant professor and pediatric cardiologist, and his team at Stanford Children's Health, are using an on-site 3D imaging lab to identify total cardiac volume—a more precise measurement that greatly broadens the potential donor pool.

Fetal surgery
Advances in technology are making more complex fetal surgeries possible - and successful - allowing for cures to devastating diseases before a baby is born.

Innovation in MRI hardware are enabling doctors to obtain higher-quality images more comfortably for small patients. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center says its infant-sized MRI scanner is the world's first designed specifically for infants and housed within a NICU.

Smart pills
Children's Health in Dallas is the first pediatric system in the United States to use digital medicines to help organ transplant patients stay on top of the medications essential to the survival of their new organs. The medication includes a tiny sensor that, when ingested, transmits a message to the patient and doctors—and parents, if applicable—to confirm the medication was taken.

Alternative to treat allergic reactions
Designed specifically for children age 2 and under, a next-generation epinephrine auto-injector delivers the appropriate dosage of medication in a less invasive manner than current auto-injectors—no stabbing required.

Patient transportation
It's the reason 3.6 million patients each year miss at least one medical appointment. Circulation, a new on-demand ride-ordering service currently used by more than 100 health systems, says it has reduced no-shows by 68 percent while providing a ride cost savings of 70 percent to medical facilities.

Night interruptions
Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU implemented a quality improvement project in which the frequency of routine vitals and lab draws were delayed—or eliminated altogether—for low-risk patients. None of the participating patients required a change in level of care and the overall patient outcome: increased ZZZZZs.

T-cell immunotherapy
Using a patient's white blood cells, T-cell immunotherapy attacks certain cancer cells much like how the body's immune system would fight an infection. Seattle Children's Hospital is conducting several trials using the reprogrammed T-cells and is reporting remission rates of 93 percent for leukemia patients. Not only is it proving to be effective, but it also works faster and is easier on patients than traditional cancer treatments.

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