CHOC Recognized for Use of Health Information Technology to Advance Safe, Quality Care

CHOC recently became the first children’s hospital on the West Coast-and only third in the nation- to receive the Enterprise Davies Award from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The honor recognizes CHOC for its design and use of health information technology to advance outstanding achievements in patient care.

In this podcast, Dr. William Feaster, chief medical information officer, and Dr. James Cappon, chief quality officer, highlight some of CHOC’s investments in health information technology and the impact these investments have had on patient safety. From an electronic medical record-enabled early warning system that has helped close to 400 children avoid resuscitation, with potentially as many lives saved, to breastmilk barcoding to eliminate feedings of the wrong breast milk, CHOC has experienced measurable improvements from its efforts.

Listen to learn how CHOC is making kids’ care better – kids’ lives better – through the use of technology.

CHOC Children’s Chief Nursing Officer Honored for Excellence in Leadership

Melanie Patterson, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer (CNO) at CHOC Children’s Hospital, was recently honored with the Excellence in Leadership award by the Association of California Nurse Leaders.  Given to an inspirational leader committed to providing expert, compassionate care for children and their families, the honor is awarded for making a significant contribution to nursing leadership.

In Patterson’s three years as CNO— within a total of 24 years at CHOC—she has focused on building leadership skills for nurse managers and ensuring the highest level of patient care quality. She supported the Nursing Research Fellowship and Evidence-Based Scholars programs to empower nurses to develop competency in the research process. She helped launch Innovation Beach Day, an off-site summit of registered nurses and other health care professionals, facilitated by innovators including representatives from Google. Melanie is also a strong proponent of CHOC’s nurse residency program, dedicated to training the next generation of pediatric nurses.

“This award is a testament to CHOC’s overall commitment to support our world-class patient care staff as we work to nurture, advance and protect the health and well-being of children in our community,” Patterson says. “I feel honored to have seen CHOC through so much growth, and to be part of caring for the hundreds of thousands of children entrusted to us.”

Patterson originally joined CHOC in a volunteer capacity and has served in various roles through the years: bedside nurse, charge nurse, clinical coordinator, nurse manager, and executive director of neonatology, Heart Institute and the Hyundai Cancer Institute. She also served as executive director of south tower activation when CHOC opened a new state-of-the-art patient care tower in 2013.

Introducing CHOC’s Newest Physicians

Please join us in welcoming the newest members of CHOC Children’s medical staff.

Ngegha Abongwa, MD – Urgent Care
Abisola Ayodeji, MD – Anesthesiology
Kai-Wen Chuang, MD – Urology
Elisa Corrales, PhD  Psychology
Lawrence Eichenfield, MD – Dermatology
Caroline Grantz, MD – Psychology
Josephine HaDuong, MD – Oncology
Beena Kazi, MD – Emergency Medicine
Olivia Kim, MD – Neurology
Carlos Konishi, MD – Psychology
Dyllon Martini, MD – Emergency Medicine
Sherif Meckael, MD – Anesthesiology
Elizabeth “Annie” Moroski, MD – Critical Care
Christopher Nguyen, MD – Anesthesiology
Patricia Riba, MD – Pediatrics
Lisa Tran, DDS – Oral Surgery
David Chang, MD – Otolaryngology
Andrea Guardenier, MD – Critical Care
Amy Lau, MD – Neonatology Hospitalist
Emilina Lim, MD – Rheumatology
Ryan Peterson, MD – Hospitalist
Suhas Radhakrishna, MD – Rheumatology
Sneha Taylor, MD – Neonatology Hospitalist
Dean Todd, MD – Hospitalist
Victor Wang, MD – Oncology
Eric Won, MD – Hematology
Minkkwan Wungwattana, MD – Hospitalist

For more CHOC physician news, visit choc.org/chocdocs.

 

Electrophysiology Advances Restore Patient’s Quality of Life

A teenaged patient’s longtime arrhythmia has been repaired and her quality of life dramatically improved thanks to emerging technology and the skill of a CHOC Children’s cardiologist.

Lauren Flotman, 15, had experienced irregular heartbeats for years before Dr. Francesca Byrne, a pediatric cardiology specialist, diagnosed her with supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT, and Dr. Tony McCanta, a pediatric heart rhythm specialist, repaired the condition through radiofrequency ablation.

Lauren Flotman

The episodes first surfaced when Lauren was about 8 years old and they began increasing in frequency as she aged. They’d occur without warning or pattern.

For Lauren and her family, the sudden attacks caused great concern. Not only was she drained and tired after an episode, but Lauren dreaded them happening, especially during a pep squad routine when her teammates were depending on her.

Lauren was elated to finally have a name for her condition.

“It was a huge relief for sure to have a diagnosis,” she says. “I always had to just describe the feeling because I didn’t have a name. Now I can say I have SVT.”

Lauren’s diagnosis was reached after a Holter monitor captured her heart racing at 220 beats per minute. Dr. Byrne referred Lauren to Dr. McCanta to discuss treatment options, which included anti-arrhythmic medications or an ablation procedure.  After reviewing their options carefully, the Flotmans decided to pursue ablation.

For Lauren’s ablation, Dr. McCanta used a new technology called an intracardiac echocardiogram, or ICE, to create a three-dimensional map of the inside of her heart without using fluoroscopy (X-Ray radiation), enabling a catheter to apply radiofrequency energy to the precise location in her heart causing her SVT.

ICE technology involves a tiny ultrasound probe imbedded into a catheter that is advanced through the vein directly into the heart, allowing for very clear, accurate image quality. These ultrasound images then integrate with a three-dimensional electroanatomical mapping system, which acts like a GPS (global positioning system) for the catheters within patients’ hearts, to provide an accurate real-time shell of the inside of the patient’s heart. This allows the doctor to safely move catheters inside the beating heart without using radiation.

While radiofrequency ablation has become a safe and common treatment for SVT in children and adolescents since the mid-2000s, intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) has not traditionally been used in pediatrics due to the large-sized catheters. But when a smaller catheter was created, which was more suitable for the size of young patients, Dr. McCanta and the electrophysiology team from the CHOC Children’s Heart Institute were among the first in the world to routinely utilize the new technology in pediatric and adolescent patients.

“For a young, healthy patient like Lauren, increasing safety and minimizing the use of radiation are extremely important, while still being able to provide a cure for her arrhythmia with ablation” says Dr. McCanta.

After a few days of taking it easy following the procedure, Lauren felt back to her usual self – only without the constant fear her heart would suddenly begin racing.

“Our team loves utilizing advanced technologies like ICE and three-dimensional mapping to help children, adolescents, and young adults with heart rhythm problems,” says Dr. McCanta, “Seeing patients like Lauren get back to all of the things they love doing is why we do this!”

Since the procedure, Lauren has been vocal at church to educate her peers about being conscious and vocal about their health.

Learn more about CHOC’s electrophysiology program. 

In the Spotlight: Wyman Lai, M.D.

A nationally-recognized pediatric cardiologist with expertise in fetal cardiology and non-invasive imaging for heart disease in fetuses and children has joined CHOC Children’s. Dr. Wyman Lai is the new medical director of echocardiography at CHOC; co-medical director of the CHOC Heart Institute, and assistant division chief of cardiology with CHOC Children’s Specialists.

“CHOC has a fabulous mix of state-of-the-art care, community presence, and academic achievement. I thoroughly enjoy working with my colleagues, who strive to provide the very best care available. The administrative staff at CHOC has also been extremely supportive. Together we are building a pediatric service that rivals any in the region, and we have our sights on even higher goals,” Dr. Lai says.

Dr. Lai’s passion for helping others inspired him to become a doctor. His original plan was to go into academic primary care pediatrics, and he majored in maternal and child health for his Master of Public Health degree. Early in his training, he switched to pediatric cardiology after becoming fascinated with what the pediatric cardiologists were doing.

“In pediatric cardiology, we are able to make a profound difference in the lives of our patients. With our surgical colleagues, we have made incredible advances in life-saving therapies over the past five decades,” Dr. Lai says. “The heart is an amazingly complex organ; it starts off as a simple tube, and it’s a wonder that it ever develops normally into a four-chambered pumping organ that delivers oxygen efficiently throughout our body.”

Dr. Lai attended medical school at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He completed his residency at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, followed by a pediatric cardiology fellowship at UCLA Medical Center, and later, a pediatric cardiology MRI fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Since joining CHOC, Dr. Lai has been treating patients with complex congenital heart disease. He is also treating patients with the full spectrum of heart conditions, from heart murmurs to chest pain and syncope.

Dr. Lai’s approach towards his patients and their families is to treat them like family members.

“As with all families, however, not everyone is the same,” he explains. “Some patients and parents want more medical information and some less. Some want to be very involved in the decision-making process and some not so much. My practice is to provide them with enough information and support, so they feel comfortable with the decisions they are making.”

Along with Drs. Nita Doshi and Pierangelo Renella, Dr. Lai is helping to build a great program in fetal cardiology at CHOC. He is also working with Dr. Renella to grow the congenital cardiac MRI program, including the use in non-invasive imaging for creating 3D heart models.

“We recently used a 3D cardiac MRI dataset to print several heart models that were used to assist in the planning of care for a child with complex congenital heart disease. Another area of innovation is our purchase of new patient monitoring software in the cardiovascular ICU that will help us to identify patients at risk for acute deterioration before it happens,” Dr. Lai says.

In April, Dr. Lai will serve as co-program director for an inaugural conference hosted by CHOC, Pacific Coast Fetal Cardiology 2017: An Interactive and Case-Based Educational Symposium, in Newport Beach. The conference supports CHOC’s efforts to improve the success of fetal cardiac screening in the region, he says.

Dr. Lai is a prolific author who has published numerous journal articles and chapters, and has contributed to several high-level textbooks utilized throughout the country. He has lectured extensively in the United States and internationally. Dr. Lai is a member of the American College of Cardiology, American Society of Echocardiography, and American Academy of Pediatrics, among other professional organizations. In addition, he sits on the National Board of Echocardiography Board of Directors.

His ongoing academic interests include creating a reliable set of normal values for cardiovascular structures in newborns and children, developing pediatric cardiac MRI guidelines, and testing new cardiac MRI sequences.

In his spare time, Dr. Lai loves spending time with his family. He also enjoys swimming, biking and running. He hopes to run in this year’s Boston and New York marathons, which he has participated in the past. He is also attending classes for a health care executive MBA at UC Irvine.

For cardiology referral guidelines, click here. To refer a patient, call 888-770-2462. 

To contact Dr. Lai, please call 714-509-3939.