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The Development of an Internet-Based Knowledge Exchange Platform for Pediatric Critical Care Clinicians Worldwide*

Wolbrink, Traci A. MD, MPH1,2; Kissoon, Niranjan MD3,4; Burns, Jeffrey P. MD, MPH1,2

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: March 2014 - Volume 15 - Issue 3 - p 197–205
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000000051
Feature Articles

Objectives: Advances in Internet technology now enable unprecedented global collaboration and collective knowledge exchange. Up to this time, there have been limited efforts to use these technologies to actively promote knowledge exchange across the global pediatric critical care community. To develop an open-access, peer-reviewed, not-for-profit Internet-based learning application, OPENPediatrics, a collaborative effort with the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies, was designed to promote postgraduate educational knowledge exchange for physicians, nurses, and others caring for critically ill children worldwide.

Design: Description of program development.

Setting: International multicenter tertiary pediatric critical care units across six continents.

Subjects: Multidisciplinary pediatric critical care providers.

Interventions: A software application, providing information on demand, curricular pathways, and videoconferencing, downloaded to a local computer.

Measurements and Main Results: In 2010, a survey assessing postgraduate educational needs was distributed through World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies to constituent societies. Four hundred and twenty-nine critical care providers from 49 countries responded to the single e-mail survey request. Respondents included 68% physicians and 28% nurses who care for critically ill children. Fifty-two percent of respondents reported accessing the Internet at least weekly to obtain professional educational information. The five highest requests were for educational content on respiratory care [mechanical ventilation] (48% [38%]), sepsis (28%), neurology (25%), cardiology (14%), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (10%), and ethics (8%). Based on these findings, and in collaboration with researchers in adult learning and online courseware, an application was developed and is currently being used by 770 registered users in 60 countries.

Conclusions: We describe here the development and implementation of an Internet-based application which is among the first efforts designed to promote global knowledge exchange for physicians and nurses caring for critically ill children. This application has the potential to evolve new methods in postgraduate education. Ongoing assessment of the efficacy of Internet-based learning platforms will be necessary.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

1Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Management, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

2Department of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

3Division of Critical Care, Child and Family Research Institute, British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

4Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

* See also p. 266.

OPENPediatrics is a not-for-profit entity in collaboration with the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies. OPENPediatrics has received in-kind grant support from IBM, Genuine Interactive, and Lexicomp. Boston Children’s Hospital has business (IBM, Genuine Interactive, and Lexicomp) and royalty (IBM) agreements in place.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s website (

The authors have disclosed that they do not have any potential conflicts of interest.

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©2014The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies