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Title Patients Following their Echos: The Effect of Telemedicine on Institutional Referral Patterns
Author(s) Rendina MC, Cameron AE
Source Proceedings of the 2001 AMIA Fall Symposium, Pages 553-557
ISBN 1-56053-536-9
Publisher Hanley and Belfus, Inc.
Publication Date November, 2001
Abstract Increasing market share by attracting patient referrals has long been cited as a justification for implementing telemedicine. METHODS: At the onset of this study, there were two level III NICUs in North Carolina that did not have on-site cardiology support. During the study period, both institutions set up telemedicine links to the University of North Carolina Health Care System for the provision of rapid cardiology support. OBJECTIVE: This paper tests the hypothesis that telemedicine was associated with an increase in the percentage of newborn referrals transferred to UNC instead of the other academic medical centers. RESULTS: Analysis of a total of 201 transfers over a three and a half year period shows that the percentage of acute transfers to UNC increased from 58 % during the pre-intervention phase to 86 % in the post-intervention phase (p = 0.001). An increase in transfers to UNC was observed from both of the level III centers. CONCLUSION: Telemedicine was an effective tool to attract patient referrals in a competitive tertiary care environment.

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