PediaTape Helps Improve Care of Pediatric Patients
For EMS providers and clinicians, the Broselow Tape is a familiar way to quickly and effectively decide on proper dosing for pediatric patients when weight cannot be accurately determined in a prehospital or hospital environment.
Now the already simple device is being made even easier thanks to its inventor, James Broselow, MD, with his next generation invention, the PediaTape.
PediaTape allows EMS providers, nurses and doctors to provide faster, more accurate care in pediatric emergencies. It’s an inexpensive color and length-only measuring tape based on Broselow’s own color coding system.
Rather than looking up a couple dozen doses directly on the tape, medical professionals can now use PediaTape to look up hundreds of medications found on PediaTape’s free printable PDF reference guides. Alternatively, they can be found on the free SafeDose mobile app. Both the reference guides and SafeDose apps can be found at www2.pediatape.com.
Unlike the Broselow Tape, this approach has the added advantage of showing not only the dose in milligrams, but also in milliliters for the selected concentration. Using SafeDose, medical professionals receive administration information, adverse reactions and can document their actions on the fly. (See SafeDose in action at www.youtube.com/user/broselow.)
“The Broselow Tape is pretty much the standard of care,” says Broselow. “When it came out originally it just had resuscitation drugs, so we had milligrams and milliliters. Then people wanted more drugs, so we added RSI and seizure drugs, and sedation, fluids and infusions. The amount of minutiae on the tape started to grow, because it was a single product with multiple audiences. An EMT that just did basic care didn’t need all those drugs but the same tape was being used in the ICU and ERs.
“More drugs came out, and there were more uses and concentrations,” Broselow continues. “The physical geography of the tape is such that you can only write so much in a little box. The printing gets smaller and eventually the milliliters disappeared just to keep up with the dose of multiple medicines.”
In an effort to streamline the process, Broselow latched onto the idea of using the tape solely as an index. Simply put, a provider could arrive at a color by measuring length and then use other avenues to find proper dosing information for just about any drug imaginable. One obvious way to do it would be through a book. Broselow says it’s been done, but even that method is limited because it’s difficult and costly to keep up with changes in printed media.
“Like everybody else we got interested in technology,” Broselow explains. First, a Web-based system called Artemis was created to house every aspect of medication administration. Introduced about three years ago, Artemis is now licensed to almost 200 hospitals.
“We developed the standard for Artemis but we wanted to make the standard updatable and available to everybody, not just through an enterprise or Web-based system, but also in mobile apps,” says Broselow. That’s where SafeDose fits in. A free app for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices, SafeDose allows providers to get a color for a patient and then simply scroll to the dosing information they need in an instant. At just $5, the PediaTape, in conjunction with the free SafeDose app, makes for an inexpensive—yet powerful—tool for providers.
Peter Lazar, who owns the PediaTape company, says the PediaTape is also part of a larger effort to introduce Broselow’s color-coding concept outside the U.S. “The Broselow tape is heavily used in basically every hospital and ambulance in the United States and Canada,” says Lazar, “but it’s not used elsewhere in the world.”
“I think the nice thing about the PediaTape,” explains Broselow, “is, once you get a color, you look at things like translations and how difficult it is to print and send and package all that stuff. With this it’s easy—it’s the same color in any language. Then we can just translate the information on the electronic system. It really accommodates a much wider world and much more divergent use of the product and concept.”
That universal concept is already apparent on the PediaTape website, www2.pediatape.com, where visitors can view information in English, German, Spanish, Dutch or Portuguese, the latter of which stems from the high level of interest in Broselow’s color-coding system the company has received from Brazil, says Lazar. Also available are color-coded wall charts for use in hospitals to amuse and inform children.
Though the PediaTape marks a progression forward for the Broselow Tape, there are no plans to phase out the older invention.
“I think we’ll always like to have a hard copy,” says Broselow. “You don’t want to be too dependent on technology. People will always want to have something they can do the basics with.”
But, he explains, the convenience of the tiny and inexpensive PediaTape gives it a nice advantage.
“In North Carolina, EMS providers are required by law to call in the Broselow color if they’re transporting a child. It would be nice if a first responder, or even a state patrol person, who comes upon an injury that involves a child could at least pull out a little tape that’s inexpensive and start the system working. Being able to get the color as part of the language is very important. Another use for the tape is in disaster response where somebody might be triaging. Say there are chemical weapons injuries and people have atropine but they don’t know the dosing. You could call in the color and somebody could have our Artemis system, either on the SafeDose app or as a hospital receiving the call, and they could immediately tell the provider the proper intervention. We see the use of the color expanding to kind a language.”