Telemedicine helps pediatric hospitalization

Sometimes you read about technology advancements that really make you think – wow. Today I read about two telemedicine advances in pediatric care that did that – one comes out of Minnesota.

Here’s the quick take from Healthcare IT News

Two recent reports concerning the use of telemedicine in hospitals or hospital departments catering to children paints a promising picture for the technology’s deployment in NICUs and other areas. One report from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found that a remote telemedicine hookup to specialists located off-site helped improve the quality of care given to newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit. The other report, from the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, found value in video links between hospitalized children and their parents, their caregivers and other hospitalized children.

In LA, the big deal is obviously the importance of remote access to offsite specialists. I think of the advantages, especially in rural healthcare centers where specialists can be scarcer and farther away. In Ireland, they recently closed a rural hospital in Roscommon. It’s a financial decision based on the fact that they have a scarcity of qualified healthcare providers – but it leaves many residents hours away from a hospital. I’ve been grumbling at the television that they should look into telemedicine. Hopefully a report like this will get other hospitals in similar situations thinking about alternatives. As the report says, remote care doesn’t replace on site care but it does change the on site requirements.

The UMN report really focuses on remote access to loved ones as well as healthcare specialists. This too I think opens the door to life changing results of illness. A sick child is obviously an upheaval. But remote access to the child not only improves life for the child but it may allow a parent to stay at home working or watching other children during healthcare stays. In a perfect world there is also a parent to stay with the child – but regardless it opens a door that, as the report indicates, improves healthcare outcome but may get a family back to a normal routine more quickly.

These example make me say wow because they are such big game changes. It reminds me of the ITU’s International Broadband Plan, which focused on how broadband can be a tool for solving life and death issues around the world.

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