Innovations and Inspirations for Improving Children's Health: March 2017

Posted March 02, 2017 by Josh Grant

Children Running In A Field
Inequities in oral health are keeping every child from having healthy teeth.

Across the United States, organizations and government agencies are creating new approaches to improve children’s health. Because we support innovation for helping children lead healthier lives, we’ve highlighted some of the most exciting initiatives we’ve seen in the last few weeks. Read on to learn how some groups are addressing critical health needs:

New Scanner Reduces Radiation for Children
The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Allegheny Health Network have begun using a new scanner from EOS to monitor growth in children with scoliosis and growth disorders. The device only produces a tenth of the radiation as normal x-ray machines, and allows patients to stand while they are scanned.

Healthcare providers receive 3-D models from the EOS scanner, allowing them to determine the proper treatment for each case. This has led to better therapies and braces for bone curvatures that were previously difficult to find. As children grow, physicians will have greater insight into the effectiveness of their interventions by studding the scans, which should lead to better health outcomes.

Transgender Youth Clinic Addresses Unique Health Needs
The Genecis Clinic at Children’s Health in Dallas now supports over 400 transgender children and teenagers in reaching their optimal physical and social-emotional health. Social workers evaluate all prospective patients between the ages of 4 and 17 to determine eligibility for joining the program.

Healthcare providers work collaboratively to design appropriate and safe treatment methods for each patient, including hormone replacement and puberty suppression. Much of the care is also centered around mental and social health because gender dysphoria can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. With intensive, continuous treatment plans, Genecis aims to be provide support for a population with complex and unique health needs.

Engineering Initiative Harnesses Technology to Improve Children’s Health
The UC San Francisco, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and UC Berkeley have started the joint Engineering for Children’s Health Initiative (ECHI). The goal of the collaboration is to further the use of technology in children’s health, which sometimes lags behind innovations geared towards adults.

The initiative held a symposium to demonstrate some of the technologies created by the founding institutes, and welcomed other engineers and children’s health experts to share their innovations, work and missions. UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital already demonstrates the type of partnership that ECHI hopes to promote: The hospital is part of a pilot study for KindVR, which conducts 15-minute virtual reality sessions to improve pain management for child patients. So far, the test has indicated at 16 percent reduction in pain. 

What children’s health innovation stories have you read lately? Share them with us @NICHQ on Twitter!  

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