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Boston Children's Hospital Announces Pilot Telemedicine Programs
According to a MedCity News report, Boston Children’s Hospital has launched three trial telemedicine programs in order to determine how effective different technologies are for providing patient care. Each of the three programs employs a different medical software or health IT solution and is being tested on Children's Hospital patients.
One program, says the hospital’s Chief Innovation Officer, Naomi Fried, sends videoconferencing (VGo) robots home with patients who have recently had urological surgery. Through tele-visits, hospital caregivers are able to perform follow-up consults with a patient who is at home, during the two weeks following their operation. The program is seeing positive results thus far, as children are especially responsive to using technology. “They don’t want to give the robot up and they feel really connected to the physician (through it),” said Fried.
In a different trial program, patients can send in pictures of suspicious-looking moles, rashes or skin lesions for a pediatric dermatologist to look at and respond to in a timely fashion. Physicians aren’t overly concerned about receiving grainy images, as many smartphones take high-resolution, high-quality photos. It is not clear whether the images will go directly into the dermatology EHR software; however, the trial program is already helping to reduce waiting times for pediatric dermatology appointments.
The third pilot program allows for video-enabled communication between emergency room doctors at community hospitals (so far, only South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass.) and ICU physicians at Children’s. Programs like these can help fill the need for expert consults at community hospitals, allowing consulting physicians to view the patient and other relevant images, all from a remote location, regardless of interconnected medical software.