The Use of Telemedicine to Address Disparities in Access to Specialist Care for Neonates

Hadley S. Sauers-Ford, James P. Marcin, Mark A. Underwood, Jae H. Kim, Yona Nicolau, Cherry Uy, Shelby T. Chen, Kristin R. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Outcomes for premature and critically ill neonates are improved with care provided by neonatologists in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). For smaller hospitals, maintaining the personnel and equipment necessary for the delivery and care of unexpectedly high-risk neonates is a significant challenge. To address this disparity in access, telemedicine has been increasingly used to support providers, patients, and their families in community newborn nurseries and NICUs. The purpose of this review is to present the current state of the use of telemedicine by regional NICUs to support community newborn nurseries, NICUs, and families. Methods: A literature review was conducted by two independent reviewers. Articles were selected for inclusion if they described the use of telemedicine with neonates or in the NICU. Two reviewers assessed the quality of the articles using the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Study Quality Assessment Tools. Results: Fourteen articles were identified. After consensus discussion, eight of the articles were rated good and six were rated fair by the two reviewers. Many of the articles suggested improvements in quality of care, family satisfaction, and reductions in the cost of care. Unfortunately, a majority of the studies to date have had small sample sizes or were performed in a single institution and lacked robust evaluations of patient-and family-centered outcomes and provider decision making. Conclusions: While these early studies are promising, more robust studies involving more patients and more institutions are needed to identify opportunities where telemedicine can impact health outcomes, patient-centeredness, or costs of care of neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-780
Number of pages6
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Volume25
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Keywords

  • pediatrics
  • technology
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

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