In 2020, new technologies were quietly making a difference in the lives of children’s hospitals across the country. While the pandemic was raging, new tools and techniques were introduced to improve kids’ care. In today’s fast-paced and constantly changing healthcare environment, clinical care and technology innovation can help save lives.


Anemia App

One of the most common conditions that children with chronic anemia face are the need for blood draws. This is very uncomfortable for anyone, let alone a child. To help ease the burden of this condition, a group of doctors, biomedical engineers, and researchers developed an app that’s being marketed as AnemoCheck Mobile. The app can check a patient’s hemoglobin level by taking a picture of their fingernail. It can also monitor the effects of taking an iron supplement. Although this app doesn’t replace a doctor’s supervision, it could be used to help improve the quality of care for kids.


In Utero Spinal Bifida Surgery

In the U.S., about 3.4 of every 10,000 births are affected by spinal cord defects known as spina bifida. This condition, which can lead to spinal deformities, has no known cure. Research has shown that intervening on the fetus in the uterus can lead to improved neurological outcome in these patients and the cost of making pre-tern labor more likely. 


Doctors have developed a less invasive technique to reduce the risks associated with this procedure. Instead of using a large incision, they used fetoscopy. The new method involves making two small (4 mm) incisions. A camera and a tiny instrument are also used during the operation. As of January 2019, the  Texas Children’s Fetal Center has completed 100 prenatal neural tube defect (NTD) surgical repair procedures to treat spina bifida, more than half of which were fetoscopic in-utero repairs.  


Auricular Neurostimulation

For the first time, a doctor was able to create a non-pharmacological treatment for kids with irritable bowel syndrome using a device known as the Auricular Neurostimulation System. According to the hospital, this new technology is an alternative to the currently available therapies for this condition.


The non-invasive device delivers alternating frequencies to the ear without causing discomfort. It has a 90% satisfaction rate and does not cause any side effects.


Leukemia Treatment

Doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital have successfully treated patients with leukemia through the use of a type of therapy known as CAR-T. This new technology is being used to treat patients who have rejected traditional cancer treatments. To ensure that the medicine is effective, the hospital has built a 500,000-square-foot facility designed to produce T cells.


MUAC Z-Score Tape

Susan Abdel-Rahman, a pediatric cardiologist, collaborated with dietitians at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City to create a device to help screen kids for malnutrition. The Z-score tape measures a child’s weight using a method that’s easy to implement and does not require much effort. According to Parents Magazine, the tool is beneficial when assessing kids prone to self-consciousness about their weight.