Telemedicine is effective in treating pediatric patients internationally, the results of a new study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) revealed.
Researchers at UPMC's Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh looked at more than 1,000 pediatric consultations offered in Latin America through telemedicine, They found that doctors in those countries were highly satisfied with Children’s service and believed telemedicine had improved patient outcomes.
Telemedicine at three hospitals in Colombia and one in Mexico from July 2011 to June 2013 were used for analysis. Children’s physicians provided 1,040 consultations for 476 patients, with a real-time intervention taking place in 23 percent of those encounters, including echocardiography, adjustment of pacemaker settings and pharmacologic therapy. In six percent of the teleconsultations, a different diagnosis was suggested based on the interpretation of cardiac or imaging studies.
In each case, the number and type of patients seen by Children’s electronic pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) were selected by local physicians at each hospital. Relevant patient data was provided to those physicians in a secure database and telemedicine hardware was used for real-time consultations.
Ninety-six percent of physicians from the originating country surveyed were satisfied or highly satisfied with the telemedicine service, while 58 percent rated the promptness and time dedicated by the tele-intensivist as very high.
“Lack of skilled physicians is a widespread problem, particularly those with expertise in patients with complex medical problems, such as congenital heart disease,” stated lead author, Ricardo A. Muñoz, M.D., chief of the cardiac intensive care division and the medical director the global business and telemedicine programat Children's. “The use of telemedicine services within pediatric cardiac intensive care units (CICUs) can be used as an assisting technology, allowing more expertise and knowledge to be shared with remote centers in need.”
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC) received the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) annual Grace Award in recognition of its leadership in health information management.