Air Med J 2020 Jul - Aug;39(4):271-275. Epub 2020 May 7.
Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
Objective: Telemedicine uses video technology to communicate visual clinical information. This study aimed to implement telemedicine in pediatric and neonatal transport, assess its value, and identify barriers.
Methods: This prospective study implemented telemedicine before transport to a tertiary care children's hospital. A preimplementation survey assessed attitudes toward telemedicine and perceived barriers. During the 12-week pilot, a video connection was initiated between transport and medical control. We collected survey results measuring telemedicine usefulness and hindrance after each use. A postimplementation survey assessed opinions about when telemedicine was useful.
Results: Initially, 82% of users had no direct experience with telemedicine. Perceived utility and burden of telemedicine varied significantly by department. During the study, telemedicine was offered 65% of the time, initiated in 47% of cases, and successful in 30% of cases. The greatest barrier was connectivity. Over time, transport members and physicians found telemedicine to be significantly more useful. In 14 cases, telemedicine changed patient outcome or management. Providers who reported a change in management rated telemedicine as significantly more useful.
Conclusion: This prospective pilot successfully implemented telemedicine before pediatric transport. Telemedicine was more useful in patients with visual findings on examination and, in some cases, changed the clinical outcome.