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Pediatric colloquium shows how telehealth reaches 'vulnerable populations'

By Molly Merrill, Contributing Editor

The ATA's annual Pediatric Telehealth Colloquium has a simple but very important goal: To share with healthcare providers how telehealth can alleviate the health disparities in children, says James Marcin, MD, immediate past chairman of the Pediatric Telehealth Special Interest Group (SIG).

James Marcin

A big part of the colloquium at ATA 2012 will be to demonstrate through research how telehealth is providing greater access to care, increasing the quality of care and reducing overall healthcare costs, says Marcin, a professor of pediatric critical care medicine and director of the Pediatric Telemedicine Program at the Center for Health and Technology at UC Davis Children's Hospital (UCDCH) in Sacramento, Calif.

From 1:15-2:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, in Marriott Ballroom V, Marcin will participate in the panel presentation titled "Pediatric Telemedicine Consultations of Remote Emergency Departments and Inpatient Wards."

In another course, "Pediatric Telehealth Colloquium Oral Research: Part 2," from 3-4 p.m. Tuesday in Marriott Ballroom V, he'll present a paper on how a videoconferencing program called Family-Link, which connects children at UCDCH and their parents to family and friends outside the hospital, was able to reduce stress during long-term hospitalization.

An old fashioned house call

Neil Herendeen

The colloquium is about "generating enthusiasm" about using telehealth "to improve the delivery of care to vulnerable populations," said Neil Herendeen, MD, chairman of the ATA Pediatric Telehealth SIG. Herendeen is the medical director of Health-e-Access at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Pittsford, N.Y.

Health-e-Access provides telemedicine care to 10 daycare centers and 60 schools in Rochester, N.Y. The program's mobile telemedicine unit travels from site to site to provide a remote consultation or "old-fashioned house call" with a pediatrician so that kids do not have to be pulled out of school and parents don't have to miss work, said Herendeen. The program serves to "take away some of the health disparity" for children in the inner city, he added.

On Monday, during the course "Outpatient Pediatric Telemedicine Applications" from 10:45-11:45 a.m. in Marriott Ballroom V, Herendeen will discuss how outpatient telemedicine programs like Health-e-Access can help provide care to vulnerable children.

"This year, the ATA Telehealth Colloquium has got some excellent presentations that would interest a veteran and new user," said Julie Hall-Barrow, EdD, the vice chairman of the Telehealth SIG.

Hall-Barrow is part of this year's "Telemedicine Toolkit: The Foundation for Starting a Telemedicine Program," which will be held from 1-2 p.m. Sunday in Marriott Ballroom V. The toolkit aims to explain the four basic uses of telemedicine – tele-education, tele-consultation, tele-practice and tele-research – for those interested in beginning a telemedicine program.

Hall-Barrow also will be part of the panel presentation "Pediatric Telemedicine: Affecting Outcomes Across the Academic and Clinical Spectrum" from 1-2 p.m. Monday in Marriott Ballroom V. The course will showcase how telehealth can impact education, practice and research in the pediatrics field.

Hall-Barrow is the associate director of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) – Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS) Program in Little Rock, Ark. Through telemedicine, ANGELS provides high-risk patients throughout the state with remote consults with maternal-fetal medicine specialists at UAMS. Hall-Barrow said the goal of providing telehealth is to create "access points for Arkansas so they can get any subspecialist wherever they are at."

Click here to view the complete schedule for the Pediatric Telehealth Colloquium.

 

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