Stories about: Medical Home

The medical home: what health care needs now

Claire McCarthy MD

You may have heard the term “medical home”—it’s been bandied about recently as something we all should have. No, it’s not a nursing home. Nor is it a house well-stocked with Band Aids and Tylenol, or one where doctors live.

The American Academy of Pediatrics defines medical home as “a model of care that is accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective.”

Well, that sounds exceedingly lovely. Of course we’d all want that. But still, what does it really mean?

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Our patients’ stories: using medical robots at home

When you hear the word robot, which image comes to mind first?

Those of us raised on Star Wars and Buck Rogers are likely to identify with the first image, but physically speaking, the robots of today have more in common with your computer and microwave than a Hollywood android.

They may look less interesting than your favorite sci-fi film characters, but modern medical robots are still quite helpful. So much so that the Boston Globe recently ran a story about a pilot project that placed a medical robot created by VGo Communications in the home of the Tally family, whose 2 year-old son Aidan is recovering from surgery he received at Children’s Hospital Boston last month to treat his urinary reflux .

The VGo robot’s main function is videoconferencing, which connects the Ashland-based family to their doctors and nurses here in Boston. Operated by remote control from Children’s, the VGo robot lets medical professionals see and communicate with Aidan’s parents, take video and close-up photos of Aidan’s scars for medical review and figure out if the prescribed medication is doing its job.

And because videoconferencing appointments are easier to coordinate than hospital visits, the Tally family was able to check in with Aidan’s care team every three days, instead of waiting for their first post surgical appointment, scheduled for six weeks after his surgery.

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The buzz from last weekend’s AAP meeting in Washington, D.C.

palfrey_judith_dsc7551Judy Palfrey, MD, FAAP, has been a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston since 1974. She is a general pediatrician and child advocate. She was chief of Children’s General Pediatrics Division from 1986 to 2008 and currently directs the Children’s International Pediatric Center.

Dr. Palfrey is the new president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is the nation’s largest pediatric organization, with a membership of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists.

Here, she writes on the important issues discussed at last weekend’s annual AAP meeting, and she’ll be writing for Thrive regularly about issues important to health care providers, parents and children.

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