IBM, Armonk, N.Y., and Boston Children's Hospital announced what they call the world’s first global education technology platform to transform how pediatric medicine is taught and practiced around the world. The technology aims to improve the exchange of medical knowledge on the care of critically ill children across all resource environments.

"Every year, nearly 7 million children under age 5 die from illnesses like pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria despite the availability of life-saving medical solutions," the organizations said in a prepared statement announcing the platform's launch. "The new technology platform, called OPENPediatrics, equips doctors and nurses with the knowledge and skills they need to save children’s lives during intensive care situations and will extend beyond critical care as adoption of the platform grows."

Developed in IBM Labs in Cambridge, Mass., OPENPediatrics brings specialized medical knowledge from international expert clinicians to thousands of pediatric caregivers across the globe. Through an on-demand, interactive, digital and social learning experience, medical professionals are trained and equipped to perform critical-care procedures and provide life-saving treatment for children who would not otherwise have access to intensive care.

IBM will supply the technology infrastructure, including its social networking, cloud, data analytics, video, and simulation technologies, and combine it with the knowledge and medical expertise of Boston Children’s Hospital to bring pediatric care to global communities. IBM Interactive, the company’s digital agency, helped to develop the technology interface.

Medical personnel can access a range of state-of-the-art simulations, video seminars and illustrations in real-time to treat critically ill patients. For example, these visuals can train a physician through simulation to use a pediatric ventilator. In addition, to fuel social interactions and learning, OPENPediatrics hosts a global social collaboration forum that connects experts from around the world to share breakthrough findings, best practices and patient care examples.

The OPENPediatrics platform includes:

* A social network that connects the global community of pediatric care providers to exchange ideas on best practices and to discuss questions between peers.

* On-demand curricula and medical literature on pediatric specialty care. Current curricula include information on diagnosing and treating blood infections, high blood sugar, brain trauma and more.

* Training videos of advanced procedures such as chest tube placement.

* Simulation experiences that create an interactive learning environment, allowing physicians to practice comprehensive treatments in virtual settings.

OPENPediatrics is designed to work online or offline, automatically pulling down the most up-to-date training information and social interactions via the cloud once a computer is connected to the Internet. It can be loaded on a PC or even a thumb drive so doctors in remote locations with low bandwidth can access or share the data.

In its pilot phase, OPENPediatrics is currently being used by more than 1,000 doctors and nurses in 74 countries on six continents. Version 1.0 of OPENPediatrics is anticipated later in 2013. IBM's new social learning platform powering OPENPediatrics will also be introduced more widely into new industries in coming months.

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