TechGirlz Takes Over CHOP

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and TechGirlz partnered together during HealthCare Information Week for an exciting session at the end of September titled “An Introduction to Electronic Health Records (EHR) in the Pediatric Health Care Environment.”  The session was designed to give TechGirlz participants exposure to pediatric healthcare, healthcare informatics, and the use of technology in such fields.

In order to encourage young girls to embark on careers in these fields, various speakers kicked off the session by explaining their own careers.  Tracey Haines discussed her own non-linear career trajectory by explaining her transition from a career in computer programming to a career in the Information Services Training Department at CHOP.  Similarly, another staff member explained her role in e-learning development, while the Director of Information Systems Business Operations at CHOP, Kisha Hawthorne, described hers.  And in order to conn

ect information services with healthcare praxis, Patty Berkes described her own experiences being a liason between nursing and information services in the field of nursing informatics.

The girls participating in the workshop listened as Patty explained how children who are patients at CHOP are given computerized healthcare “narratives” at the hospital instead of paper charts.  The girls then learned about patient portals, where individuals can access their own health histories and records, while also learning about the changes in American legislation which will lead to the mandatory use of electronic healthcare records in hospitals by 2015.  In addition, they were introduced to informatics systems such as EPIC, which are frequently used by those in healthcare settings.

After receiving a brief history of CHOP (which was first founded in 1855), the girls were taken on a tour of the hospital itself.  During the tour, they were shown a trauma bay in the strike center and various equipment used in the treatment of patients, such as anesthesia machines.  They were also shown exam rooms and the computers used by emergency staff when working with children in need of emergency care.  Other elements of the tour included discussions about the Children’s Seashore House and a walk through the Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Pediatric Research Center.

Salome Reyes, a TechGirlz participant who is home-schooled and who has learned about robotics at previous TechGirlz workshops, was interested in learning about the use of robotics at CHOP.   When asked why she was interested in participating in the session, Salome replied “I am excited to learn about simulation and about things like robotic surgery.”  Salome and her fellow TechGirlz were able to explore their interests in simulation during their tour of the CHOP Simulation Center and a hands-on workshop which allowed them to perform various tasks upon artificial limbs and a simulated “dummy” called a high fidelity mannequin.

When asked for her own definition of simulation, TechGirlz participant Angel Bird insightfully explained that she believed simulation was “recreating something to understand it.”  Angel and her peers then discussed various types of simulation they had heard of previously, including flight simulation, arcade games, and space simulation machines.  The girls were shown how to inject an IV into an artificial limb known as a “part-task trainer” and later participated in the development of EHR training materials.

Written by Eva Lupold.