Improving Children's Health Through Medical Collaboration
Isabel Gonzales 2700075WFV firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  pediactrics medical openpediatrics socbiz collaboration-tools dr-jeffrey-burns boston-childrens-hospital social-business collaboration-solutions hospital collaboration
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Isabel Gonzales Guerrand, Voice of Client Program Director, Social Business, IBM
My trip to Boston Children's Hospital was much more illuminating and inspiring than I could have imagined.
Boston Children's Hospital (@BostonChildrens) has embarked on realizing a vision of collaborating on medical care for critically ill children that has dramatically changed access to medical knowledge. Their vision was to break down the boundaries in pediatric care and bring experts together from all over the world to share their experiences and lessons. But we're not talking about a once-a-year pediatric conference or a symposium of medical professionals. Instead, Boston Children's Hospital's vision extended far beyond these traditional exchanges. This vision would come to be known as OPENPediatrics (@OPENPediatrics).
The spark that inspired the founding of OPENPediatrics came from Dr. Jeffrey Burns, Chief of Critical Care at Boston's Children's Hospital. Upon watching the 2009 Masters Tournament and seeing an IBM advertisement, he became intrigued by the virtual golf simulation tool developed by IBM Interactive. His immediate thought was, "Why can't I have advice from the medical community that's this easy to access?" Later, as he watched his young son playing video games with several players around the world, he again wondered, "Why can't it be easier to collaborate with medical colleagues that are located far beyond Boston, Massachusetts?" Dr. Burns took action. He sought out IBM to help him create his vision "…to pass on medical expertise in many different ways for different types of learning and in so doing arm medical professional with the right knowledge." His simple observation—that technology could be used to share medical knowledge beyond the walls of institutions, particularly in developing countries—has fundamentally improved the quality of medical care in many countries and is providing better training on how to save lives.
"It might be surprising to many people that all of the best techniques or resources are not here at Boston Children's Hospital. We need to draw from centers of medical expertise in Bangladesh, Thailand and Cambodia, for example," says Dr. Traci Wolbrink, associate director of OPENPediatrics.
I met the entire OPENPediatrics team, a lean and mean operation that hires pre-med students and recent college graduates, as well as professionals. This small but prolific group produces a plethora of content for learning and then carefully observes, with the use of analytics, how that content is being picked up.
"The real objective is to not burden the learner," says Dr. Burns.
I left Boston Children's Hospital thoroughly impressed and hopeful. It's easy to be impressed with this group of people, as they are extraordinarily talented doctors and medical specialists. However, my hope came from seeing the commitment of these forward thinkers to push beyond their current reality and work towards spirited changes for the better.
"Children are much more resilient than adults. They can make it through medical challenges that you or I could not conquer. Children are resilient if they can get the care they need," says Dr. Burns.
Now that's hope!