The American Academy of Pediatrics voiced its support for a recently published research study in Pediatrics, which concludes that telemedicine is equally effective as in-person consultations for pediatric cases, even those with serious illness. Conducted using the Yale and Respiratory Observation Scales, this study involved a total of 132 febrile subjects and 145 subjects with respiratory distress. Patients were evaluated both at the bedside and via video consultation and a strong correlation was found between the two methods. For the febrile subjects, the Pearson’s correlation coefficient between the two methods was calculated to be 0.81. For the patients with respiratory distress, the Pearson’s correlation coefficient was an excellent calculation of 0.85. It was thus concluded that telemedicine is reliable in the assessment of febrile children and children with respiratory distress.
Dr. Lawrence Siew of the Yale University School of Medicine outlined the importance of this research study, in his statement:
“The importance of determining whether observations made via telemedicine are similar enough to observations made in person underlie the important application of telemedicine: to make clinical assessments and treatment plans for patients being evaluated with telemedicine when bedside evaluation is not possible.”
These findings could not have come at a better time in our healthcare system’s timeline. Using telemedicine for pediatric cases, especially for more emergent conditions of fever and respiratory distress, provides a solution for both the shortage of pediatric clinicians and the unregulated high volume of emergency room pediatric patients.
Elementary schools and daycares are already taking advantage of this newly mainstream branch of telemedicine. A program run by Children’s Health in Texas is sweeping the state and reaching thousands of children in dozens of elementary schools. Without even leaving school, children can be evaluated by a medical provider to save the student, parents, and school staff both time and money.
Telemedicine and pediatrics is a dynamic duo! After all, no parent wants to push their child to a physician’s office if they can have a consultation from the comfort of their own home.