Portfolio News

  • Congratulations to Dock Health for its successful spin-out! Dock is a HIPAA-compliant task management system for clinical teams founded by Mike Docktor, MD of Boston Children’s.
  • Early Literacy Screener was recently featured on Education Dive. Early Literacy Screener is a game-based screening app that can effectively screen for early signs of literacy challenges, developed by IDHA in partnership with Dr. Nadine Gaab of Boston Children’s.
  • Congratulations to Health Voyager and its founder, Mike Docktor, MD for winning the Eli Lilly Transforming IBD Care Innovation Challenge! Health Voyager is an immersive virtual reality platform that allows for personalized patient education. Health Voyager was also featured in the Boston Globe.
  • Congratulations to Knot and its co-founders Kyle Wu, MD and Robert Crum, MD of Boston Children’s and Heather Lyu, MD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital for being named one of MassChallenge’s Top 20 Startups in 2019. Knot promotes learning and eases the reporting burden of surgical residency requirements by efficiently logging surgical cases via a mobile app.

Announcements & Events

  • YouVape was launched by IDHA’s Yulin Hswen, MPH, Sc.D. of Boston Children’s. YouVape is an online survey that allows people to report symptoms they may experience related to vaping-induced pulmonary disease and gives researchers access to specific information regarding patient’s symptoms and what they vape. The Wall Street Journal and IEEE Spectrum have also reported on Yulin Hswen and John Brownstein, PhD’s research on vaping-related illnesses using HealthMap, an online, global infectious disease surveillance system.
  • The HealthXL Digital Health Podcast interviewed Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein, PhD, covering everything from his early days as an epidemiologist to his current work at IDHA.
  • Check out CNET’s feature on FluNearYou, a crowdsourced flu surveillance system developed by the HealthMap team.
  • HealthMap was recently featured in the Boston Globe as a health project at Boston Children’s that could help adults by tracking infectious disease outbreaks using online sources.
  • The Virtual Care team has launched behavioral health virtual visits in our affiliated primary care network, Pediatric Physician Organization at Children’s (PPOC). This initiative will help provide improved access to remote behavioral health services for patients across Massachusetts.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) press release for the Annual Flu Vaccination Campaign highlights Vaccine Finder as a primary resource for individuals in the U.S. to locate immunization services.
  • Can Social Media Inform Public Health Efforts? The Scientist discusses this topic with Emily Cohn of IDHA. The article also features HealthMap and FluNearYou.

Partnership Updates

  • Facebook has announced the launch of a new preventive health tool that provides users with a list of recommended preventive tests or checkups and connects them to local providers of those services. The platform leverages the Vaccine Finder technology developed by HealthMap to help consumers find flu vaccine locations.

Innovator Spotlight: Laura J. Wood, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

As Senior Vice President, Patient Care Operations and Chief Nursing Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Laura Wood has accountability for professional practice leadership for nursing and patient care services spanning approximately 6,000 staff nurses, advanced practice clinicians, and inter-professional clinical team members.
Prior to joining Boston Children’s Hospital in 2013, Dr. Wood held progressive nursing and operational leadership roles within three leading academic health care settings: The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System serving in pediatric nursing, educational and operations improvement roles. Additionally, she served as Vice President, Siemens Healthcare (now Cerner Corporation) where she led IT-enabled performance improvement, professional services, and clinical IT business development throughout the U.S.
In 2012, she was named a Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow as part of a selective three-year national executive leadership program. She serves as a member of the Boston Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees, as Principal Investigator for the Sporing Carpenter Chair in Nursing and participates on numerous boards and committees including the Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA) Advisory Board, and as an appointed member to the Johns Hopkins University Nursing Advisory Board, Press Ganey National CNE Advisory Board, and The Joint Commission CNE Advisory Board. Over the past decade, she has served on both the HIMSS National Nursing Advisory Board and as National Co-Chair, AMIA Public Policy Committee, Nursing Informatics Working Group (NIWG)
There are many digital health projects currently in the works at Boston Children’s, any in particular that excite you? Are there opportunities where there is still room for improvement?
Two come to mind, one has been in progress for an extended period of time and will continue which is the portal. The second is the Connect project which was in progress for a much shorter time from conceptualization to implementation.
For me, the portal has great significance because it has the opportunity to impact both provider workflow and patient/family experience. It’s really consequential and important that we continue to accelerate progress around the work to digitalize family access and experience and have a contact experience that is easy and pleasing.
The second thing that I’m very excited about is the opportunity to support team-based communication via Connect. It is a unique and important opportunity because we have to move from point to point communication to something that involves multiple users, in order to coordinate care in a more efficient and effective manner. Additionally, for nurses we have the medication scanning capability and moving forward we will have scanning for breast milk. To have a unified platform like this is overdue and we have more to do with it. We went live on this in a very large scale way because in order for this to work it was important to avoid a slow incremental rollout given the risk of fragmenting and slowing time-sensitive clinical communication. We had a successful phase 1, but our learning continues. The extended digital team is in the process of making a series of rapid changes to improve some of the UI and UX moving forward.
Prior to joining Boston Children’s, you held nursing and operational leadership roles in leading academic health care settings. Do you see differences between how other institutions handle innovation and what we do at Boston Children’s?
Yes, I think it’s a fair statement that there is wide variability. There are things that I’ve observed within Boston Children’s that we do very thoughtfully and capably, and with a sense of urgency. However, the reality is that we’re never fast enough given the speed of innovation and disruption around us. We constantly have to balance speed with quality, safety, and clinician cognitive load. That’s one of the key things that’s different when you’re innovating in a healthcare space, you have to pay great attention to both the patient and family experience and the provider and healthcare team experience because you can’t degrade their performance in a way that would contribute to stress and difficulty. We also benefit from understanding innovation and applying the lessons from sectors beyond healthcare.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to incorporate new ideas into hospital workflows? Are there particular obstacles to look out for?
The principle I try to use as a guide is to design for simplicity. This is definitely “easy to say and hard to do” though. Keeping the idea as simple as possible allows for the solution and its value to be understood quickly. It turns out that simple is often complex but trying to build iteratively and in an agile fashion is essential, both for people to understand your idea first and then be able to build upon your idea and modify it. I think it is generally wiser to engage the ecosystem around you to be part of the change process from the design side all the way through professional scale.
Are there any lessons or notable observations you have from being a part of the IDHA Advisory Board?
I think it takes some bravery to create and share an idea that’s partially developed. That’s true for all good ideas. I’m really impressed by the innovators that come prepared with well thought out ideas and yet are truly receptive to feedback and engage in the agile process with our IDHA group. These often become the folks that can bring something to market and achieve success more quickly. To be both confident in the core of the idea that you have, but be open to new possibilities, is a cornerstone of effective innovation.