Telemedicine is the exchange of useful medical information from one location to another through electronic communications with a sole aim of improving a patient’s health status. Miami children’s hospital in collaboration with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has provided a genetic telemedicine program that allows children to receive health care services from highly specialized doctors such as genetic specialists who are only based in larger cities.
Golisano doctors, thanks to video teleconferencing, can now consult with specialists from the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital on cases relating to genetic and metabolic diseases. Golisano medical director, Dr. William Liu shares with us the case of a premature newborn – Felix Escalante- who was delivered 10 weeks early. Dr. Parul Jayaker, a genetic specialist, was able to examine the premature boy using telemedicine technology. Venezia Escalante -Felix’ mother, admitted that the experience was better than traveling all the way to Miami, since it was cost effective and less hectic with a quicker response than those in two waiting rooms.
Two years ago Jonathan Witenko, out of necessity, helped develop the telemedicine device in order to save his 5-year-old daughter who had a head injury. According to the Hospital’s spokeswoman Mary Briggs, Telemedicine has been in use in the hospital since 2014 to help with consulting neurologists in neurological cases suspected to be a stroke. She discloses that the Telemedicine system has 10 devices and costs about $120,000.
Recently discharged patients are also beneficiaries of Telemedicine, with the Equipment being installed in their homes to read their vital signs and pass the same data to the hospital. Senior citizens have also enjoyed a decrease in hospitalization rates and costs due to telemedicine. In fact, the number of trips by senior citizens to hospitals has drastically reduced.
With Telemedicine services rapidly gaining popularity at U.S. hospitals, more families are now able to enjoy specialized health care closer to their homes. This has enabled them to save time and money that would have otherwise been spent on tiresome trips to city hospitals. Smaller communities living in remote areas have also not been left out since the technology has enabled them to have access to specialists.