Telemedicine and pediatric care partner to bring big advantages to little patients

Jun 12, 2015 / The telemedicine advantage /

 

For parents, there's nothing more precious than the health and well-being of their children. Mothers and fathers will go to any lengths possible to ensure that they can get the best and most effective medical care when their sons or daughters are sick.

Unfortunately, families in rural or low-income areas may not have immediate access to general medical care, let alone a specialist in the case of an ongoing health condition. In these instances, telemedicine plays a huge part in pediatric specialty care.

Prior to telemedicine, rural pediatric patients had to either be transported to a metropolitan hospital or resort to phone consultations if a specialist wasn't readily available. Now there is a new option.

"Telemedicine gives a boost to rural pediatric care, providing greater accessibility to specialty care."

Study finds pediatric telemedicine is a huge money-saver

If you're wary of adopting telemedicine, especially for specialty services such as pediatric care, because of the looming initial investment, a recent study from the University of California, Davis may put your mind at ease.

Researchers worked with economists to find the average cost of a telemedicine consultation in a pediatric setting. According to UC Davis Children's Hospital, that averages to $3,641 per consult. This includes all aspects of the telemedicine visit, including installation costs, IT and infrastructure maintenance, and specialist costs. However, the money saved through this method eclipsed this spending, making it obvious that telemedicine can be a valuable money-saving process. The report found that pediatric telemedicine consultations saved an average of $4,662 per use, cutting down on things like patient transfer or air ambulances, which can be very costly to hospitals and clinics.

Giving a boost to rural pediatric care

As mentioned before, rural areas can have difficulty accessing reliable and quality healthcare. Another study from UC Davis Children's Hospital revealed that telemedicine can be greatly beneficial in this way as well. Where prior to telemedicine, rural pediatric patients had to either be transported to a metropolitan hospital or resort to phone consultations if a specialist wasn't readily available, now there is a new option.

The study authors found that rural emergency department doctors were more likely to adjust diagnosis and treatment plans of pediatric patients after a live video conference with a specialist than they would be after a phone consult, resulting in a higher quality and accuracy of care. Additionally, parents of pediatric patients demonstrated much higher levels of satisfaction with the care received when telemedicine was used.

"The bottom line is that this readily available technology can and should be used to improve the quality of care delivered to critically ill children when there are no pediatric specialists available in their own communities," James Marcin, director of the UC Davis Children's Hospital telemedicine program, told the source.

Find out how AMD Global Telemedicine has helped My Health e-Schools deliver pediatric care through 14 school-based telemedicine programs.

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