SUBSCRIBE

Children’s Hospital competition aims to support innovation in pediatrics

By Katherine Landergan Globe Correspondent 

Boston Children’s Hospital has selected three finalists to compete for a $30,000 prize in a “Shark Tank”-style event on Friday that will feature one of the ABC television show’s judges, the fashion mogul Daymond John.

In addition to CareAline, the other finalists are HubScrub, an invention that aims to curb bloodstream infections from central-line catheters, which enter the chest, and Kurbo Health, a weight-loss program for children and teenagers.

Advertisement

Dr. Sarah Goldberg, a cardiology fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital, said that central-line infections can cause severe complications and deaths in children. It is recommended that caregivers manually scrub the lines and allow them to dry, but that requires a person to stand at the patient’s bedside several times a day.And that is not practical for medical professionals who are pressed for time, she said.

Along with a team of doctors and engineers, Goldberg helped to develop a prototype that automatically scrubs and dries the cap of a central line. HubScrub is a cordless device that attaches to the cap, scrubs it for 5 to 10 seconds, and fans it dry. When the process is completed, the device beeps.

“It’s a nationwide concern, both in pediatrics and adults,” Goldberg said of central-line infections.

Kurbo Health is a weight-loss program designed for children and teens ages 8 to 18.

The goal is to reach them where they live — on their cellphones. It consists of an app, which teaches young people how to make healthier eating choices without counting calories, and is supplemented by weekly personal coaching via phone and text.

Advertisement

Joanna Strober, 46, of Palo Alto, Calif., said she was inspired to help create the weight-loss app to help her son, who was struggling to lose weight. She said there were plenty of programs for adults trying to control their weight and stay healthy, but she could not find any that were geared to children.

“The goal was to take those tools and translate them into something that would work for kids,” she said.

Dr. Ivan Salgo, one of the judges for “Innovation Tank,” said it is crucial to fund projects that cater to the pediatric market, because business owners are less inclined to invest in these products, seeing the market for them as too small.

“Pediatrics is a subset of the market,” said Salgo, senior director of Global Cardiology for Philips Ultrasound. “There’s less business incentive, so we’re trying to support programs that foster innovation.”