At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), innovation happens every day. On Innovation Day, Dec. 7, the Cardiac Center celebrated these advances in treatment and care by inviting clinicians, scientists, psychologists and other team members to propose projects that would enhance the patient and family experience in the Cardiac Center.
The seven projects presented answered this invitation with innovations in both service and technology. The projects aim to enhance training, efficiency and communication — all with the goal of continuing advancements in patient care. This year, all projects presented will receive funding for continued development.
Advancing Skill Development through Simulation Training
Simulation training can be used to master clinical skills in a low-stakes environment. Sherri Kubis, RN, aims to enhance the current Cardiac Center Simulation Program through her project, the Center for Resourced Education and Simulation Training (CREST). By providing a dedicated simulation space and local experts to facilitate instruction, CREST plans to integrate simulation training into both new staff orientation and ongoing professional education.
Telehealth Technology: Enhancing the Patient Experience
The Virtual iPad Presence in Rounds (VIPPIR) Project is spearheaded by Maryam Y. Naim, MD, and a multidisciplinary team interested in utilizing FaceTime or Skype to increase caregiver presence in daily rounds in the Evelyn and Daniel M. Tabas Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). The team’s findings indicate that the ability to be present in rounds reduces caregivers’ stress. By providing families with an iPad and utilizing a mobile stand in patient rooms, the project plans to use telemedicine technology to increase caregiver participation in rounds when they are unable to be on the unit, thus improving family/care team communication.
Cardiac concerns often lead to the Emergency Department (ED). Some issues, however, aren’t emergencies and can be addressed remotely. While telehealth technology is becoming increasingly popular, phone visits don’t provide the same level of triage as an in-person exam. The CHOP Telecardiology Program, led by Tamar Preminger, MD, will investigate the use of video cardiology exams via TytoCare™ technology. This telehealth tool not only supports visual health exams, but enables a provider to listen to a remote patient’s heart and lungs, take their temperature and view their throat and ear canals. The project team postulates that video cardiology exams will reduce unnecessary ED visits and expedite admission for patients that need immediate care.
Improving Communication and Patient Care
Natalie Bernard, BSN, RN, CCU Nurse Manager, is leading the effort to develop the Cardiac Center Care Management Program. Care management is the coordination of care planning often needed for patients with complex medical conditions as they approach discharge. Care management also follows up at home to ensure a smooth transition out of the hospital environment. A care manager partners with families and care teams to develop a plan that not only supports inpatient care, but assists with care transitions and at-home care. Bernard’s team is exploring how a dedicated cardiac care management program will improve communication with families post-hospitalization and reduce the need for hospital readmission.
David Hehir, MD, MS, is leading the development of a Cardiac Center coordinated care app. Fully integrated with the hospital’s electronic medical records, the app will allow patients to digitally submit home-monitoring data for physician review. The app will be fully customizable, providing specific educational and communication tools for patients with complex diagnoses. It will also feature prescription and self-scheduling functionality.
Creating Community for Patient Families
For families of children with congenital heart defects, it is common to experience many challenging emotions, including feelings of overwhelm and isolation. Cardiac Connections, a comprehensive social support program proposed by Abby Demianczky, PhD, and team, aims to alleviate some of this emotional stress by facilitating connections between Cardiac Center families. The program includes educational seminars, organized peer-to-peer support and planned family events, with the ultimate goal of empowering Cardiac Center families and promoting community engagement.
Funds raised through the Cardiac Center’s Philly Spin-In directly support the development of all seven projects.