We can’t be just good at this. We have to be great.
The late Dr. Nick Anas was known for this inspiring catchphrase, and CHOC leaders fondly recalled his contributions to innovation and medical intelligence at a recent webinar celebrating novel advances past and present.
CHOC Innovation Day 2021, held June 25, began with remarks by President and Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Cripe.
“Our providers and associates have always been problem-solvers focused on advancing pediatric care and enhancing our services to our patients and their families,” said Cripe, who cited population health initiatives, mental health care, and CHOC’s “phenomenal response” to the COVID-19 pandemic as examples.
“Nick was a passionate advocate for positive change,” Cripe remarked. “His inspiring legacy is reflected in the numerous ways we continue to advance our mission.”
Never giving up
The 90-minute virtual event, open to all CHOC physicians and associates, highlighted such innovations as an app to help parents with children with autism spectrum disorder establish daily routines and an augmented reality module to ease patients’ anxiety about undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
“Innovators never give up,” said Dr. Anthony Chang, chief intelligence and innovation officer at CHOC and leader of the CHOC Sharon Disney Lund Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (MI3).
“(Dr. Anas’) positive energy about anything that seemed impossible or difficult was just mind-blowing,” Dr. Chang added. “He had the curiosity and wonder of a 5-year-old.”
Dr. Anas, CHOC’s former director of pediatric intensive care who died April 3, 2018, recruited an initially reluctant Dr. Chang 17 years ago.
Dr. Chang said CHOC’s culture of continually striving to go beyond to provide the best possible care to patients and their families provides inspiration on a daily basis.
Challenging the status quo
CHOC pediatric intensive care unit medical director Dr. Jason Knight, after showinga video tribute to Dr. Anas, said telemedicine and genomics are two examples of how CHOC has been ahead of the curve in pushing the boundaries to best take care of patients.
“Nick challenged the status quo,” Dr. Knight said. “He really saw the future.”
Joe Kiani, founder and chairman and CEO of Masimo and a member of CHOC’s board of directors, said CHOC is obsessed with doing what is best for its patients, and “solutions come out of that obsession.”
Kiani’s Irvine-based global medical technology company develops and manufactures innovative and noninvasive patient monitoring technologies.
“Both Masimo and CHOC are like that, and this happens because of the dedication of both organizations’ people,” Kiani said. “We both constantly ask, ‘What’s the best thing we can do for children?’
Involving frontline workers
Tiffani Ghere from the MI3 leadership team shared a thank you video from several of the officers of the International Society of Pediatric Innovation (iSPI), an organization launched by MI3. She then introduced guest speaker Dr. Todd Ponsky, a pediatric surgeon and director of clinical growth and transformation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, spoke about what innovation means to him.
Dr. Ponsky said it’s critical to involve frontline workers in the process.
“Frontline clinicians are key to making sure innovation works,” Dr. Ponsky said.
Across the enterprise
Debra Beauregard, director of MI3, pointed out that at CHOC, innovation is happening across the enterprise, with new ideas coming from nurses, technology leaders, doctors, and others. She invited CHOC innovators to share their exciting projects to inspire all associates to unlock their inner innovator.
Nurse Scientist Jennifer Hayakawa spotlighted a new virtual reality app called A Heroes Journey VR that will help adolescent and young adult patients in the hospital combat feelings of isolation and anxiety.
The app is designed to enable patients to become heroes of their own stories and share their struggles and challenges with other patients.
In other examples of innovation at CHOC, Dr. Sharief Taraman shared his Move D device, which is currently being tested in the clinical setting to help improve fine motor skills for children with cerebral palsy.
Adam Gold, CHOC’s chief technology officer, partnered with the Innovation Lab to create uTine, an app that helps build daily routines for children with autism spectrum disorder.
“We are gamifying building up life skills,” Gold said.
Pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Ashish Chogle, in partnership with veteran nurse Wanda Rodriguez, an instructor in the CHOC HElps program, has created an app, CareXR, that immerses parents in a virtual reality world that trains them to care at home for kids with medical devices such as gastric tubes, tracheostomy tubes, PICC lines, and central venous catheters.
CHOC Chief Health Information Officer Dr. Bill Feaster and Louis Ehwerhemuepha, a data scientist in the department of healthcare informatics, discussed an algorithm that they recently deployed at CHOC that uses data science and artificial intelligence to reduce hospital readmission rates. The tool helps staff better identify patients more at risk for readmission.
Dr. Chang and data scientist Howard Lei presented their imaging data sharing project, currently underway, spotlighting the importance of collaboration in data science.
Dr. Feaster and Dr. Chang noted the importance of making data accessible to those who need it and coming up with actionable items resulting from such data.
“Data by itself means very little,” Dr. Feaster said. “Data with data science applied to clinical care is what we really are all about.”
CHOC Vice President for Research and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Terence Sanger said research and innovation are very closely intertwined but are distinct.
“Researchers ask, ‘What do you want to do?’ while the role of an innovator is to ask, ‘How are you going to do it?’” said Dr. Sanger, a physician, engineer, and computational neuroscientist who also is vice chair of research for pediatrics at the UCI School of Medicine.
Added Dr. Sanger: “Innovation requires looking at the bigger picture. We need more of that thinking in science, to ask, ‘Which problems are the biggest to address?’”
MI3 closed the event with a message from Dr. Chang.
“While we know that innovation in pediatrics can be challenging, as long as we build on our culture of innovation at CHOC, unlocking our inner-innovators, we will continue to advance care for the children and families that we serve,” Dr. Chang said.