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About Sickkids
About SickKids

July 25, 2013

Innovation is happening all over SickKids

By Hillete Warner

The Hospital for Sick Children created its Innovation Fund in 2012 to help staff turn their ideas into action. The fund has now been renamed the Mary Jo Haddad Innovation Fund to honour Haddad who is retiring at the end of the year after 10 years as President and CEO of SickKids. Under her leadership, the concept of innovation has become a key strategic direction and a daily activity among all SickKids staff. The Mary Jo Haddad Innovation Fund is supported by the generosity of donors. Anyone is welcome to contribute to Mary Jo Haddad’s legacy of innovation at SickKids by making a donation at the SickKids Foundation page at www.tributetomaryjo.com.

The following examples show some of the new products, services and business processes that have received funding from The Mary Jo Haddad Innovation Fund.

Carrie McDonald, Nurse Practitioner, thought that if families wore noise-cancelling headphones plugged into iPods in the neonatal intensive care unit, they wouldn’t have to leave the room and their babies while doctors and nurses talked to other families. As a result the NICU is receiving eight new iPods, ear buds for every parent, more screens and reclining chairs.

Krista Keilty, Nurse Practitioner, Centre for Innovation & Excellence in Child and Family-Centred Care, and a multi-disciplinary team, suggested that families be included in the conversations that outgoing and incoming nurses have at shift change. The team is developing and testing the new handover tool in a pilot study.

Suzanne Breton, Sherna Marcus and the occupational therapists in Rehabilitation Services are exploring a new treatment for swallowing dysfunction called NMES (neuromuscular electrical simulation) used widely in the United States on adults with swallowing impairment. A SickKids study showed great promise on infant patients and now 20 patients will be receiving 25 treatment sessions.

Dr. Elena Pope, Staff Physician and Section Head of Dermatology, is developing an app-based clinical disease severity scoring system for patients with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic condition that causes blisters in the skin and mucosal membranes. The app will help track a patient’s disease severity score and monitor its progression in the convenience of their home.

Carling Cheung, Lab Research Project Manager, Neurosurgery, and a team from The Centre for Image Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention, is developing a realistic neurosurgery simulator to increase training opportunities. Constructed from coloured silicone rubber, it looks and feels like a real brain and is encased in a plaster-based 3D skull that can be cut and drilled like a real skull.

Bonnie Fleming-Carroll, Associate Chief of Nursing & Inter-Professional Education, and Dinarte Viveiros, Director of Emergency Medicine & Access, thought that community health-care providers and SickKids experts should be connected using technology, such as tablets and smart phones, to ensure consistent and family-centred care for patients between visits.

Dr. Abha Gupta, Staff Physician, Haematology/Oncology, Dr. Armando Lorenzo, Staff Urologist, Urology, and Dr. Darius Bägli, Senior Attending Urologic Surgeon, are developing infographics to facilitate standardized information delivery to oncology patients and their families concerning fertility preservation. The infographics are part of a larger fertility preservation program that will aim to help children and youth province-wide tackle potential threats to their future fertility.