IBM > Case Studies > Revolutionizing Pediatric Care Globally: A Case Study on Boston Children’s Hospital and IBM's OPENPediatrics

Revolutionizing Pediatric Care Globally: A Case Study on Boston Children’s Hospital and IBM's OPENPediatrics

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Technology Category
  • Application Infrastructure & Middleware - Event-Driven Application
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) - Application Development Platforms
Applicable Industries
  • Education
  • Healthcare & Hospitals
Applicable Functions
  • Product Research & Development
Use Cases
  • Time Sensitive Networking
  • Virtual Training
  • Training
About The Customer
The primary customer for OPENPediatrics is Boston Children’s Hospital, a 395-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent healthcare. Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, it has grown into a leading institution grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Boston Children’s is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The hospital recognized the need to improve pediatric critical-care training worldwide, particularly in regions with limited access to medical education. This led to the development of OPENPediatrics, a platform that provides access to expert knowledge and training to healthcare workers and medical students globally.
The Challenge
Boston Children’s Hospital, a leading pediatric and adolescent healthcare center, identified a significant challenge in the global healthcare sector. The traditional teaching hospital apprenticeship model was failing to adapt to an increasingly interconnected world, leading to a bottleneck of expert knowledge within the walls of institutions. This created disparities in access to medical education, particularly in pediatric critical care. Countries like China, India, Brazil, and the United States have more than 150 medical schools each, while 36 countries have none. Of these, 26 are within sub-Saharan Africa, areas with some of the highest disease burdens and infant mortality rates. The lack of access to expert knowledge and training in these regions was a critical issue. Dr. Jeffrey Burns and Dr. Traci Wolbrink of Boston Children’s Hospital, both experts in pediatric critical care, research innovation, and medical learning techniques, sought a solution using Internet and social networking technology to share knowledge instantly around the world.
The Solution
The solution was the development of OPENPediatrics, a cloud-based social learning platform that provides academically rigorous post-graduate medical education to clinicians caring for critically ill children around the world. The platform was developed in collaboration with IBM Interactive and other educational institutions over a decade. It delivers training videos, lectures, simulators, best practices, and a community of socially connected experts to all areas of the globe. The platform is designed to function in both connected and offline states, making it accessible even in regions with limited internet access. It features advanced social networking, allowing a global community of pediatric care providers to exchange ideas and answer questions. It offers curricula on demand, guided learning pathways, and medical literature on pediatric specialty care. Training videos cover mechanical ventilation, infection control, and other advanced procedures. A simulator lets physicians practice their skills on a virtual ventilator without endangering patients. All content is academically rigorous, peer-reviewed, and free to authorized users.
Operational Impact
  • The operational results of implementing OPENPediatrics have been significant. The platform has improved education for pediatric healthcare workers by accelerating learning through content based on best practices in adult education. It has also facilitated the sharing of practical expertise, benefiting educators, residents, nurses, and medical students. The platform has led to improved patient care, as evidenced by success stories from Israel and Guatemala. In Israel, a physician reported that after watching a training video on the platform, they were able to successfully perform a procedure that they had previously struggled with. In Guatemala, hospital staff developed a hand-washing program in the pediatric critical care unit after learning ways to avoid nosocomial infections on the platform. The platform has also fostered more discussion among doctors, leading to improved patient care.
Quantitative Benefit
  • OPENPediatrics has more than 1,000 users in 74 countries, including 253 cities and 343 hospitals.
  • The platform is currently being tested in 74 countries with plans to expand to include other subspecialties of pediatric medicine.
  • The platform is designed to function in both connected and offline states, making it accessible even in regions with limited internet access.

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