KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ — A new study by
researchers from Children’s Mercy Hospitals
and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., found that rapid electronic
review of children’s heart images by specialists nearly 200 miles
away allowed for earlier diagnosis and treatment of potentially
serious pediatric heart problems. The study was presented at the
American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
in San Francisco.
Researchers looked at 11 years of data on first-time pediatric
echocardiograms performed at St. John’s Medical Center in Joplin,
Mo., and transmitted to pediatric heart specialists at Children’s
Mercy 160 miles away, between April 1998 and October 2009.
More than 70 percent (71.7 percent) of the echocardiograms were
ordered due to the local physician hearing a heart murmur. Nearly
three-quarters (73.6 percent) of the echocardiograms were
determined by Children’s Mercy specialists to be normal.
“Satellite heart imaging labs like the one evaluated in this
study can give parents fast access to pediatric expertise they
might not otherwise have, and that can often be reassuring,” said
Seiji Ito, MD, resident at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics,
and co-author of the study. “This study helps illustrate how
telemedicine can save families significant worry, time and expense.
It alleviates the need to make appointments with an unfamiliar
doctor in a city far away, and endure a lengthy road trip that
ultimately could prove to be unnecessary.”
Of the 905 echocardiograms evaluated, only 15 (1.7 percent)
resulted in a transfer to Children’s Mercy for treatment.
Telemedicine involves the use communication technology to share
health information among physicians or between physicians and
patients. Over the 11 years looked at in this study, the method of
transmission evolved from video tape over integrated services
digital network (ISDN), to digital studies transmi