The lack of medical devices and technology designed for children is one of the biggest challenges in pediatric medicine. Today, many of the medical devices used on children were originally designed for adults.
Since children’s physiology and anatomy differ from adults, it is important to design devices specifically for pediatric applications since it is difficult to downsize adult devices for children. Also, since the market for children’s medical devices is small, many companies shy away from building medical technologies for the young population.
Georgia Tech www.gatech.edu scientists and engineers in collaboration with Emory University www.emory.edu, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta www.choa.org, and the Marcus Autism Center www.marcus.org are working to fill that gap in the children’s market.
The research team at Georgia Tech with funding from NIH www.nih.gov is working on a device to develop a beside dialysis device for children. When children use an adult dialysis device, this may lead to dehydration, shock, and loss of blood pressure. The team is working on a prototype that can be used in the clinic and are hopeful that additional funding will become available to initiate a clinical trial.
Another device under further development used to detect ear infections is called CellScope Oto www.cellscope.com. Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University are working to make it possible for the device to alert a physician if the parent suspects their child has an ear infection.
Today, parents who have CellScope Oto can call the CellScope Oto service where an app guides the parents through an actual ear exam in the home. At this point, an on-call physician will contact them with a diagnoses which may help parents and children avoid going to the emergency room.
To further help pediatric patients, another organization called the Philadelphia Pediatric Medical Device Consortium (PPDC) www.phillypediatricmeddevice.org provides seed grants for $25,000 each to three companies to help them transform their innovative ideas into commercial devices to benefit young patients.
For example, one company Little Sparrows Technologies http://little-sparrow-tech.com received a $25,000 seed grant to design a portable high intensity phototherapy device to be used in medically underserved areas where it is especially needed to treat newborns with neonatal jaundice.