Best tech for pediatrics: 2016
This has been an outstanding year for medical technology and innovation. Here is Dr Schuman’s review of the best tech products for your practice.
More great stuff and product updates
I was intrigued by the office vaccine refrigerators at the Migali Scientific (Camden, New Jersey) booth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that special refrigerators be used to store vaccines. These are configured to maintain temperature despite doors being opened and closed, and they have temperature logging systems to ensure that vaccines retain their efficacy. Additionally, many can be configured with alarms that will call or message physicians in the event of a power outage or if the refrigerator malfunctions so that vaccines can be relocated. Migali sells a variety of medical-grade refrigerators of varying sizes, which are manufactured in the United States.
Many, if most, pediatrician are familiar with the Buzzy system from MMJ Labs (Atlanta, Georgia), a device that combines a vibrating plastic smiling “bee” that is attached to a cold pack and placed on a child’s arm before administrating a vaccine. These devices distract the child and reduce the pain associated with the injection. The Buzzy was developed by a pediatric emergency department physician, Amy Baxter, who once appeared on the TV show “Shark Tank” to present her invention (she refused the Sharks’ offers).
This year, Baxter is marketing the VibraCool system for treating muscle injuries, sprained ankles, swollen joints, and more. It combines vibration with a cold pack placed into a fabric sleeve. This is fastened to a painful extremity (various sizes are available) for 20 minutes at a time. Prices are reasonable, and they will be available on Amazon.com by the time you read this. I’ve tried the system and it is fantastic!
Also new is the BD Veritor Plus System from BD (San Diego, California), a wireless rapid diagnostic device for use with point-of-care assays (see my previous articles on influenza and strep testing). The BD Veritor Plus System features a “walkaway” mode and the ability to scan bar codes, and now it has printing capabilities as well. The unit is available for $300.
Vision screener now FDA approved
Several years ago, David Hunter, MD, chief of Ophthalmology at Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts, developed the Pediatric Vision System (PVS) to identify children with amblyopia, intended to be used by primary care physicians. The device uses polarized laser light to test eye orientation at the retinal level. The technology is called “retinal birefringence scanning,” and Hunter has formed a company called REBIScan (Boston, Massachusetts) to commercialize its use. Because this is a “novel” device, it has taken the FDA 3 long years to finally approve the device for clinical use. Hunter is now in the process of converting his prototype into a streamlined, handheld screening device in preparation for distribution. By the way, REBIScan has released a mobile application called BabySee to demonstrate to physicians and parents how newborns’ eyesight acuity changes throughout infancy. It already has had 25,000 downloads.
This has been an outstanding year for medical technology and innovation, and I hope you will consider integrating some of these devices into your practice. Remember, although some may be expensive, they will improve your ability to care for patients, and most will generate revenue that will justify their purchase.
Acknowledgement: I would like to thank the following pediatricians for their help with the “Gadgets and Gizmos” sessions at the AAP NCE: Kevin Hodges, MD; Naveen Mehrotra, MD; Larry W. Desch, MD; Gail Schonfeld, MD; Mitch Frumkin, MD; and Manuel Vides, MD. Thanks also to Ms. Virginia Mason for serving as timekeeper.
Check out Dr Schuman's new web initiative at medgizmos.com