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New Children's National Bear Institute Space Home to Information Technology Research and Development

The Innovation and Learning Center Hosts First Hackathon to Improve Families' Experience at Children's National

Innovation and Learning Center

Washington, DC – The new state-of-the-art Innovation and Learning Center at Children’s National Health System officially opened. The Center is home to the Bear Institute, one of the first pediatric institutes focused on improving children’s health through innovative information technology. The Bear Institute will conduct information technology research and development to help improve safety, quality, and families’ experience at Children’s National. It also will house two research departments: the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National and the Department of Nursing Research. The Center further is equipped with the facilities and technology to provide a hands-on approach to teaching new technology solutions as they are developed and implemented across the health system and the world. 

“Many health systems buy an out-of-the-box technology structure, which isn’t flexible enough to fit the needs of their patient population,” explains Brian Jacobs, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer and Chief Information Officer. “Within the Innovation and Learning Center, the Bear Institute team will be working diligently to customize those systems to meet the needs of Children’s patients and providers and teaching our constituents, from families to staff, on how to use these new systems.”

Since the Bear Institute was first formed in September 2013, the health information technology team has been hard at work assessing, developing, and improving technology solutions at Children’s National. The team has implemented more than 10 solutions, in nine months, to more than 3,000 care givers in various areas of the health system. The solutions have helped improve patient quality and provider efficiency. The team also is working on dozens of more projects for the rest of the year.

“By having some of the nation’s best clinicians, researchers, and IT developers in the same facility, we can shorten the cycle time it takes to develop a cutting-edge solution that helps improve the life of a child, ”says David Pierre, Sr. Institute Executive at the Bear Institute. “Bringing these different competencies together enables a new way of thinking because you’re working elbow-to-elbow, coming up with new ideas, and bouncing feedback off one another in real time.”

For the Innovation and Learning Center’s inaugural event, the Bear Institute will be hosting a two-day hackathon. Developers from Cerner will be creating a mobile application for families and visitors to use during their visits to the Sheikh Zayed Campus for Advanced Children’s Medicine. The application ideas were chosen from a list of suggestions taken from various stakeholders from Children’s National and Cerner. Once the application is coded, it will be thoroughly tested and then made available for families and visitors. 

The Bear Institute, a strategic relationship between Children’s National Health System and Cerner Corporation, is working to develop innovative ways to advance the health and well-being of children. Health information technology helps the Children’s National care team become more integrated and efficient in the care we offer to patients.

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Emily Hartman
Children’s National 

Victoria Guerra

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