ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Parents Magazine today recognized Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital among the nation’s most innovative children’s hospitals.
Parents surveyed 50 leading children’s hospitals across the country about their latest innovations, response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they have harnessed technology in new ways.
Mott is among 15 hospitals named in the January, 2021 issue and was recognized in the “creative problem solvers” category.
“We are pleased to see our teams recognized for their commitment to research, innovation and technology that advances care for children fighting life-threatening diseases,” says Luanne Thomas Ewald, FACHE, M.H.A., chief operating officer at Mott and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.
This is the second time Parents has recognized children’s hospitals for innovation, and Mott was also named on the magazine’s 2018 list. Parents also ranked Mott among the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country in 2013.
Parents highlighted Mott for innovative approaches to treating pediatric brain tumors, specifically research demonstrating that tumor DNA in spinal fluid may help diagnose and treat pediatric cancer patients with aggressive brain tumors.
Using a hand-held genetic sequencing device, researchers were able to analyze spinal fluid to monitor how a tumor’s mutations were changing over time, helping them determine if they may need to adjust treatments. The work is led by Carl Koschmann M.D., a Mott pediatric oncologist and researcher with the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center at Michigan Medicine.
“In a time when healthcare workers have never been more essential or more appreciated, Parents sought to highlight the extraordinary efforts of children’s hospitals—not only in relation to the pandemic, but in all areas of research and medical advancement benefiting kids and families,” says Julia Edelstein, Editor-in-Chief of Parents “Whether or not your child ever requires hospitalization, reading about these incredible institutions will fill your heart with hope, gratitude and awe.”
Members of the Parents advisory board, which includes medical experts, helped determine the winners from hospital submissions.
Mott was picked after teams answered questions about multiple areas of care. Other notable highlights from the Mott submission included:
The Mott Congenital Heart Center has been a leader in championing virtual 3D visualization technology. Its newly formed 3D visualization program has embraced advances in technologies that allow for virtual and printed 3D modeling of congenital heart defects, their use in pre-procedural preparation, as well as in helping to predict patient outcomes.
Innovative work at the center has shown that unique displays and analysis of virtual and printed 3D heart models can add information and even change plans prior to cardiac interventions. “The possibilities of these technologies are endless,” says lead researcher and Mott pediatric interventional cardiologist Arash Salavitabar, M.D.
Earlier this year, a team of surgeons, nurses and other specialists also separated conjoined twins. Among the many steps Mott teams took to plan for this complex, procedure was working with bioengineers from U-M to design lifelike, 3D-printed models of the twin girls’ livers and body structures. The models showed what structures they shared, helping doctors plan for every meticulous step of the surgery.
In addition to pediatric brain tumor research, other research projects are also underway to help improve outcomes for children facing the toughest-to-treat cancers.
One example is a multi-institutional study led by Mott that includes clinical sequencing of a multi-ethnic cohort of pediatric cancer patients to find better treatments for minority children with high-risk cancer malignancies and who have worse outcomes and survival rates.
Physicians at the Congenital Heart Center have also pioneered a path to improve cardiac critical care at children’s hospitals nationwide through the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium (PC4). PC4 is a data sharing and quality improvement collaborative that has grown to include over 60 hospitals across North America.
This collaboration is having a major impact, with research showing that PC4 hospitals have been able to significantly reduce deaths and improve care for children with critical heart conditions.
Redesigning Prenatal Care
In response to COVID-19, Michigan Medicine rapidly assembled a multidisciplinary team to revise and implement a new prenatal care model for low-risk pregnancies. The number one priority: to keep pregnant patients and their babies safe.
Teams redesigned prenatal care using innovative approaches to meet patients’ needs, including encouraging virtual visits for care that could be done remotely, and providing support to pregnant women creatively. Doppler devices and blood pressure cuffs were also provided to help patients monitor their pregnancy in conjunction with their virtual visits.
Technology to Keep Kids Connected and Engaged during COVID-19
Child Life teams created MottTube, a quick and safe response to help patients cope in new ways during the pandemic as other in-person activities became more limited. The playlist offers 60 original videos designed to educate, entertain, and encourage young patients, with highlights including story time with hospital dog Denver, music therapy episodes, art and Little Victors’ yoga.
Teams also embraced the telehealth movement to maintain high quality, patient and family-centered care to support the developmental and psychosocial needs of patients and families.
Unique model of emotional support
Parent hosts in the cancer unit and Newborn Intensive Care Unit help keep families and patients emotionally and physically comfortable throughout their journey. Hosts are parents of children who have gone through similar experiences as the families they serve, bringing a level of human connection that enhances the healing environment.
In June, Mott was also recognized among the top-performing children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. It was the only hospital in the state nationally ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties.