Secure Texting App Comes to CHOC – An Update from Dr. Bill Feaster, CHOC Children’s Chief Medical Information Officer

Bill Feaster, M.D. CHOC Children’s chief medical information officer
Bill Feaster, M.D. CHOC Children’s chief medical information officer

As many of you are aware, texting protected health information (PHI) over a non-secure platform is a violation of HIPAA.  Unfortunately, this has become a growing, common practice in healthcare due to convenience and the quick responses usually elicited by a text message. Fortunately, there are many products on the market today that allow us to continue to use texting, while still protecting PHI.

After an 18-month evaluation, and many changes in the vendors in the market, we have chosen PingMD, a medical messaging app, as our solution for secure texting. There are several advantages of PingMD over other products on the market. PingMD, in addition to secure texting, allows you to send pictures and videos. It is ideal for communicating with referring providers, as they can sign up for free when invited by CHOC physicians using the application to communicate with them. Additionally, we looked at the current solutions at some surrounding hospitals and felt that PingMD had many advantages over the competition.

While we already have a small test group of users using the product, our full roll-out of the application will occur mid-July. Preliminary work has been done to set up accounts based on medical staff physicians who have a sign-in to CHOC Port (Active Directory account), user groups, etc. Residents and other providers will be added soon after.

Stay tuned for more information in the following weeks. Thank you.

In the Spotlight: Frank Kellogg M.D.

At age 88, Pediatrician Frank Kellogg, M.D., still sees patients one day a week.
At age 88, Pediatrician Frank Kellogg, M.D., still sees patients one day a week.

He may have officially retired in 2013, but Frank Kellogg, M.D., is still a practicing pediatrician. He works one day a week at Strong Families Medical Group, in Anaheim, where he cares for an underserved medical population.It is the latest stage of a long medical career marked by service.

Dr. Kellogg graduated from Anaheim High School on D-Day. Two days later, he and the rest of the boys from his senior class reported for active duty.

The U.S. Navy sent him to begin pre-medical training at UCLA, which he finished in two years. Next, he went to Stanford Medical School, followed by an internship at San Francisco City and County Hospital. The Korean War interrupted his pediatric training for two years, while he served as a physician on the aircraft carrier USS Antietam.

After returning, Dr. Kellogg completed his residency at Stanford. In 1955, he became the first chief resident of pediatrics at the new UCLA Medical Center. And in 1956, Dr. Kellogg returned to Orange County to open a private practice in Garden Grove.


“I have learned that when what you do is important, it does not have to go on forever to still be important.”
CHOC pediatrician Frank Kellogg, M.D., on the importance of community service.

Pediatrics: Circa 1956
Today’s newly minted pediatricians would scarcely recognize the pediatric world in which Dr. Kellogg began his practice. In 1956, pediatricians were still seeing polio and epiglottitis. Rho(D) immune globulin had not been developed yet, and Dr. Kellogg routinely performed exchange transfusions for newborns with ethryblastosis fetalis.

Dr. Kellogg, who is an original member of CHOC’s medical staff and served on the hospital’s executive committee and board of directors, has also seen a complete shift in the way hospitals care for their youngest patients. When he was an intern, parents could only visit one afternoon a week. After they left, there would be complete pandemonium because the children knew their parents wouldn’t be back for a week.

“They sobbed all night long,” Dr. Kellogg said. “Child Life? It didn’t exist because it wasn’t seen as important.”

And today, Dr. Kellogg marvels at the highly sophisticated patient care CHOC Children’s provides, especially the 24-hour access to expert pediatric specialists. At the beginning of his career, pediatricians sat with seriously ill patients in the middle of the night to start and restart IVs. To this day, Dr. Kellogg still gets a little nervous if he sees a low IV bottle.

“CHOC Children’s is really quite something,” he said. “Whoever thought we’d have a place like this.”

What Goes Around . . .
By the time Dr. Kellogg closed his private practice, he had cared for three, maybe four generations of children in some families. Not long ago, he treated an infant with an unusual, but familiar last name. That patient turned out to be the great-great grandson of the Anaheim physician who treated Dr. Kellogg for pneumonia when he was a child.  What a tremendous way for such an admirable medical career to come full circle.

CHOC Children’s Ranked Among Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals

best-childrens-hospitals-7specsDid you hear our good news? CHOC Children’s has been ranked as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, available at CHOC ranked in seven specialties: cancer, pulmonology, neonatology, which earned a “top 20” spot, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and urology.

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, first introduced in 2007, highlight the nation’s top 50 pediatric facilities in 10 specialties, based on a combination of clinical data and reputation. To gather clinical data, U.S. News sent a clinical questionnaire to 183 pediatric hospitals. Five-sixths of each hospital’s score relied on patient outcomes and care-related resources made available at each facility. The remaining one-sixth of the score was derived from a survey of 450 pediatric specialists and subspecialists. The physicians were asked where they would send the sickest children in their specialties, setting aside location and expense.

“Every Best Children’s Hospital deserves high praise,” said U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “We know how important it is for parents to have confidence in pediatric centers that show dedication and expertise in caring for a child facing a life-threatening, rare or demanding illness.”

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CHOC Small Baby Unit Serves as Model at Conference

VON 1Dozens of representatives from neonatal intensive care units nationwide recently toured CHOC Children’s Small Baby Unit (SBU) and learned how to replicate the facility in their own hospitals as part of a conference held by the Vermont Oxford Network (VON).

About 50 attendees spent two days this month at CHOC, touring and attending workshops and roundtable discussions. Among the sessions was “Creating a Small Baby Program: The CHOC SBU Experience,” presented by Dr. Antoine Soliman, SBU director, and Mindy Morris, DNP, SBU program coordinator and nurse practitioner.

In that session, the pair defined key components and approaches of the program that help develop a team dedicated to the care of micro-preemies; identified strategies for staff engagement in developing tools and processes to standardize the care of babies with extremely low birth weights (ELBW); examined potential challenges and barriers to the development of an ELBW team, and devised possible solutions.

Morris also shared data accumulated by the unit since it opened in 2010, as well as outcome improvements for conditions that are common for this delicate patient population.

“Families as Team Members,” covered patient andSBU_tour_VON family-centered care, including how to enhance the family experience and further staff knowledge. In this session, former SBU parents shared their experience of being a part of the patient care team.

As part of the conference, SBU staff also offered insight into their roles and responsibilities within the unit, as well as the essential tools used by the team in standardizing care for the micro-premature infant.

Conference attendees also had time to devise ways that they could apply information gained from touring the SBU into their own NICU. They also had opportunities to ask questions and seek advice from SBU staff.

The visitors came from nine hospitals – adult and children’s – throughout the country, including Children’s Hospital at Providence (Alaska); Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota; Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (Grand Rapids, Mich.);  Stanford Children’s Health; and C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (University of Michigan).

Founded in 1989, VON is a nonprofit, voluntary collaboration of health care professionals dedicated to the quality and safety of medical care for newborns and their families. VON comprises more than 900 NICUs worldwide.

In the Spotlight: CHOC Children’s Specialists Pediatric Surgery

“I would never live in a community that doesn’t have a children’s hospital,” says Dr. Mustafa Kabeer, a CHOC Children’s Specialists pediatric surgeon.

Dr. Kabeer and his three partners – all fathers – firmly believe that ill or injured children require the clinical expertise and compassionate, family-centered care unique to pediatric facilities, like CHOC Children’s.

“Kids aren’t small adults.  From tiny newborns to adult-sized teens, each pediatric patient deserves access to the technology, environment and people that can only be found at a children’s hospital.  Here at CHOC, everything we do – each and every day – is focused on children.  We deliver a high level of care in a friendly setting that promotes collaboration among staff and families,” explains Dr. Kabeer. 

Philosophy of Caring
Together, Dr. Kabeer and his partners, Dr. David Gibbs, Dr. Troy Reyna and Dr. Saeed Awan, abide by a philosophy of care that engenders trust between them and their patients and families. More specifically, they treat their patients like they’d want their own children treated.  Similarly, they treat the parents the way they’d want to be treated.

“We encourage parents to come to us with questions so they can learn as much as possible.  As parents, we would do the same thing if we were in their shoes. They need to do whatever they can to feel like they are being good parents, and we want to partner with them in that effort.  We have the same goal:  getting their kids better,” says Dr. Gibbs.

This commitment is extended to referring physicians.

“Physicians in the community should always feel comfortable contacting us.  We answer their calls directly and get their patients seen promptly.  With telemedicine and additional technological advances, we’re always exploring ways to extend our reach into the community,” says Dr. Reyna. 

Scope of Services
In addition to performing the more common surgeries, such as hernia repair, the group offers minimally invasive surgery, the Nuss procedure (for the repair of Pectus Excavatum), robotic surgery and thoracic surgery.  With the addition of Dr. Reyna, approximately two years ago, and Dr. Awan, about eight months ago, CHOC Children’s Specialists Pediatric Surgery has increased the scope of clinical activities, performing an increasing number of thoracic surgeries and treating more cases of inflammatory bowel disease, for example.

“One of the reasons my colleagues and I chose this specialty is the breadth and depth of our field.  We completed one of the longest pathways in the U.S. medical system to become pediatric surgeons.  This training prepared us to operate in a number of areas, from the neck to the pelvic region.  And these are the areas in which we have performed thousands of surgeries throughout our years of practice.  As a group, we bring this experience – and the rigorous training it took to get here – to our patients and their families,” says Dr. Awan.

Commitment to CHOC
As advocates for their patients and families, as well as the broader medical community, the pediatric surgeons are actively involved at the hospital.

Dr. Gibbs is president of the medical staff and the interim medical director of pediatric trauma. 
Dr. Kabeer has served on the CHOC Children’s board of directors and currently serves as secretary/treasurer of the Pediatric Subspecialty Faculty, Inc. board of directors.  All four physicians are active on various committees and in resident training.  All are involved in CHOC’s surgical neonatal intensive care unit, which they created in partnership with the hospital’s neonatology division.

“We couldn’t imagine being the kind of physicians we strive to be without a deep connection to the hospital.  It’s been very rewarding to be a part of CHOC’s recent evolution, which gives us a greater ability to care for our kids,” says Dr. Kabeer.

With a primary office in Orange, CHOC Children’s Specialists Pediatric Surgery has offices in Corona, Mission Viejo and Newport Beach. To refer a patient, please call 714-364-4050.