Pediatric telehealth, Virtual Pediatrics Telemedicine

Viability of Pediatric Telehealth Neurology: Study of 14,820 Patients

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Now that the data related to forced adoption of telehealth is being analyzed post-COVID, questions remain about the efficacy of pediatric telehealth for different groups of patients and their families. Searching for data about the viability of continuing virtual pediatrics telemedicine, a research team from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia looked into children’s records after the reopening of outpatient clinics. Led by Michael C. Kaufman, researchers published their findings in the Journal of Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology in September 2022.

Design of Virtual Pediatrics Telemedicine

The study titled, Child neurology telemedicine: Analyzing 14 820 patient encounters during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, evaluated the long-term impact of virtual pediatrics telemedicine in neurology. The group conducted an observational cohort study of 34,837 in-person and 14,820 telemedicine outpatient visits with 26,399 individuals. The researchers looked at differences in care across:

  1. Visit types
  2. Time-period observed
  3. Time between follow-ups
  4. Patient portal activation rates, and 
  5. Demographic factors.

Findings of Pediatric Telehealth Study

After reopening the in-person clinics, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia researchers reported these findings:

  1. Patients with epilepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder were more likely to use telemedicine than in-person visits.
  2. Infants, individuals with neuromuscular disorders, and those needing procedures were more likely to be seen in person than by telemedicine.
  3. Health disparities for socially vulnerable families and racial and ethnic minorities persist.

As seen in studies with many different populations, the viability of pediatric telehealth depends on the type of care needed. While continued studies will clarify questions about the optimal use of virtual pediatrics telemedicine and telehealth, large-scale studies such as this can help clinicians make reasonable suggestions to their patients and clients.

Reference

Kaufman, M. C., Xian, J., Galer, P. D., Parthasarathy, S., Gonzalez, A. K., McKee, J. L., … & Helbig, K. Child neurology telemedicine: Analyzing 14 820 patient encounters during the first year of the COVID‐19 pandemic. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

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