Improving Telemedicine Policy in Pediatric Emergency Care

Pediatric emergency telemedicine uses audio-visual technology and electronic health records to provide emergency medical services to children from a remote location. Telemedicine may be a promising approach to correct many of the existing deficiencies in the United States pediatric emergency care system, including the lack of trained pediatric providers, deficient communication across hospitals and large travel distances to regional pediatric centers, especially in rural areas. However, to date emergency telemedicine remains remarkably underutilized, primarily due to a lack understanding about the barriers to telemedicine adoption and lack of robust data about its potential value to payers, providers and other stakeholders. To address these issues, Dr. Jeremy Kahn and Dr. Lori Uscher-Pines are studying the role of emergency telemedicine in the pediatric emergency care system. They are using semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders to perform a comprehensive environmental scan of barriers to pediatric emergency telemedicine and best practices surrounding program implementation. In addition, they are using quantitative data to examine the potential clinical and financial impact of emergency telemedicine from both the societal and payer perspectives. The results will directly inform key policy decisions surrounding the financing, organization and management of pediatric emergency medical services in the United States.