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Children’s Hospital Launches Telemedicine Program for Pediatric Obesity

April 22, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children's Hospital has announced that it will launch a telemedicine program aimed to tackle childhood obesity.

The hospital’s pediatric comprehensive weight management center will partner with Fruit Street Health, a new digital wellness and telemedicine platform, for the program. The program was launched behind the idea that providers wished to give patients access to their evidence-based pediatric weight management program without the need for families to make frequent trips to Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

To achieve this goal, they faced the challenge of needing a secure means to deliver their individual and group sessions via video conferencing and to collect activity and nutrition information from patients easily between visits. Providers chose to use Fruit Street's virtual lifestyle medicine clinic solution, which has been designed specifically for healthcare providers that want to monitor the lifestyle of their patients and conduct virtual consultations on the company’s HIPAA compliant FDA-registered video solution, officials say.

Fruit Street’s solution will also be fully integrated with leading wearable technologies such as FitBit, Withings, Jawbone UP, iHealth Labs, and the upcoming Apple Watch, officials say. This will enable clinicians to monitor lifestyle data from their patients such as sleep, exercise, diet, weight, blood pressure, and blood glucose data. The center’s providers will use the platform including physicians, dietitians, psychologists, social workers, exercise physiologists and physician assistants for the evaluation and treatment of adolescents with obesity through their MPOWER (Michigan Pediatric Outpatient Weight Evaluation & Reduction) CONNECT program.

“Childhood obesity is a significant public health concern. Many children with excess weight will grow up to be severely obese adults and will suffer from obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Our goal is to help teens and their families improve their health through lifestyle changes and we believe that well designed communications technology can help us connect with our patients and increase the likelihood of our patients achieving success,” said Susan Woolford, M.D., a pediatrician and the medical director of the weight management program.

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