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Progress, priorities, challenges are focus of State of Stanford Medicine

At this year’s State of Stanford Medicine event, the dean, hospital CEOs and a special guest shared their reflections on the strengths and challenges of the medical center today.

Hailing Stanford Medicine as “the epicenter of biomedical discovery for the world,”  Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, encouraged audience members gathered Sept. 17 at the State of Stanford Medicine event to strive to make sure that statement remains true decades from now.



Stronger Together

“We’re looking to change health care for the better, across the Bay Area, across the country, across the world...The message I hope our patients, families and communities get is: We are one Stanford — even though we have different pockets and different tentacles — and these things are really important to us: to be uniquely Stanford, value-focused and digitally driven.”



The future of surgery has arrived in a newly opened center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

STANFORD, Calif. – Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has opened a new surgical center, marking a key milestone in the hospital’s expansion since it opened the doors of its new Main Building in December 2017. The Bonnie Uytensgu and Family Surgery and Intervention Center includes six new surgical suites and six interventional treatment rooms including radiology and cardiac catheterization labs, bringing the most advanced surgical, interventional and hybrid technologies available anywhere to Packard Children’s. The hospital’s existing seven operating rooms (ORs) are currently undergoing upgrades and by early 2019, the hospital will have a total of 13 cutting-edge dedicated pediatric ORs—the most in any Northern California children’s hospital—nearly doubling Packard Children’s capacity for pediatric surgical procedures and enabling the hospital to perform an estimated 6,000 additional surgeries annually.



How Stanford Research is making MRI scans safer for children

When it comes to medical imaging, pediatric radiologist and biomedical engineer  Shreyas Vasanawala knows that kids aren’t the same as adults.

Vasanawala, MD, PhD, professor of radiology at the School of Medicine, has spent the last 10 years studying how to improve magnetic resonance imaging scans for his smallest, wiggliest patients. Now, he’s putting his MRI innovations to work in the Cynthia Fry Gunn and John A. Gunn Imaging Center at the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, which opened in December.  

He talked with pediatrics science writer  Erin Digitale about the needs that spurred his inventions and how the new hospital’s state-of-the-art technology will improve his team’s ability to care for children who need medical scans.



Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford receives Antimicrobial Stewardship Centers of Excellence (CoE) designation

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) named Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford as one of the 25 institutions that received its Antimicrobial Stewardship Centers of Excellence (CoE) designation. Launched last year, the IDSA CoE program recognizes institutions that have created stewardship programs led by infectious diseases–trained physicians and pharmacists and certifies that the programs are of the highest quality and have achieved standards established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The IDSA CoE program places emphasis on an institution’s ability to implement stewardship protocols by using its electronic health record system and providing ongoing education to its medical staff. Congratulations to Hayden Schwenk, MD, MPH, and his team for their efforts to combat antimicrobial-resistant infections and protect the safety of our patients.


Google Glass helps kids with autism read facial expressions

Children with autism were able to improve their social skills by using a smartphone app paired with Google Glass to help them understand the emotions conveyed in people’s facial expressions, according to a pilot study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The therapy, described in findings published online Aug. 2 in npj Digital Medicineuses a Stanford-designed app that provides real-time cues about other people’s facial expressions to a child wearing Google Glass. The device, which was linked with a smartphone through a local wireless network, consists of a glasses-like frame equipped with a camera to record the wearer’s field of view, as well as a small screen and a speaker to give the wearer visual and audio information. As the child interacts with others, the app identifies and names their emotions through the Google Glass speaker or screen. After one to three months of regular use, parents reported that children with autism made more eye contact and related better to others.

“We have too few autism practitioners,” said the study’s senior author, Dennis Wall, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and of biomedical data science. Early autism therapy has been shown to be particularly effective, but many children aren’t treated quickly enough to get the maximum benefit, he said. “The only way to break through the problem is to create reliable, home-based treatment systems. It’s a really important unmet need.”



Medical errors may stem more from physician burnout than unsafe health care settings

Physician burnout is at least equally responsible for medical errors as unsafe medical workplace conditions, if not more so, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“If we are trying to maximize the safety and quality of medical care, we must address the factors in the work environment that lead to burnout among our health care providers,” said Tait Shanafelt, MD, director of the Stanford WellMD Center and associate dean of the School of Medicine. “Many system-level changes have been implemented to improve safety for patients in our medical workplaces. What we find in this study is that physician burnout levels appear to be equally, if not more, important than the work unit safety score to the risk of medical errors occurring.”

The study was published online July 9 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Shanafelt, who is also a professor of hematology and the Jeanie and Stew Ritchie Professor, is the senior author. Daniel Tawfik, MD, an instructor in pediatric critical care medicine at Stanford, is the lead author.