Dr. McDonnell’s two main research pathways are within the field of patient safety & quality assurance. His first focus is opioid and tenfold drug error throughout pediatric hospital medicine. The long-term goal is to abolish harmful pediatric medication errors which he sees coming to fruition through a mixture of: 1) root –cause investigation of at-risk practices, drugs, and, system weaknesses; 2) innovative solutions that utilize informatics, interactive applications and technology; and 3) reduction of complexity and redundancies within hospital medication processes. His second focus is the design and performance of quality improvement projects within the Department of Anesthesia & Pain Medicine. These are suggested by the data collected within the department’s quality & safety program and have been implemented throughout many different facets of clinical pediatric anesthesia practice.
Dr. McDonnell is currently investigating the effects of sleep-disturbed breathing (obstructive sleep apnea, central hypoventilation) on outcomes within pediatric anesthesia practice. He collaborates with research colleagues from respiratory medicine, sleep clinic and otolaryngology, and has recently been appointed as a member on the Society for Anesthesia & Sleep Medicine Pediatric Committee in order to continue such work.
Dr. McDonnell’s previous work investigated the development and management of opioid-induced hyperalgesia in post-surgical pediatric populations and continue to investigate factors that may improve our ability to predict patients at risk of developing severe postoperative pain that ultimately transition to chronic persistent pain.