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Title Neonatal regionalization through telemedicine using a community-based research and education core facility.
Author(s) Hall RW, Hall-Barrow J, Garcia-Rill E.
Source Ethn Dis., Chapter 1, Vol. 20, No. 1, Pages 136-140
Publication Date Winter 2010
Abstract INTRODUCTION: Although regionalization of neonatal intensive care is associated with improved outcomes, implementation has been difficult because of increased deliveries of sicker neonates in smaller nurseries. Telemedicine has been used successfully for medical care and education but it has never been utilized to modify patterns of delivery in an established state network. METHODS: The Community Based Research and Education Core Facility of the Center for Translational Neuroscience established a network of 15 telemedicine units with real-time teleconferencing and diagnostic quality imaging, called Telenursery, placed in neonatal intensive care units, using T1 lines to link these units with a large academic neonatal practice. Weekly educational conferences were conducted to establish guidelines for obstetrical, neonatal and pediatric care in a program called PedsPLACE (Physician Learning and Collaborative Education). Patterns of delivery were assessed through a linked Medicaid database before and after the Telenursery initiative to determine if the most at-risk neonates were transferred to the academic perinatal center for delivery. Clinician satisfaction with the PedsPLACE educational conference was high as assessed through written survey instruments. RESULTS: Medicaid deliveries at the regional perinatal centers increased from 23.8% before the intervention to 33% in neonates between 500 and 999 grams (P < .05) and was unchanged in neonates between 2001-2500 grams. CONCLUSION: Telemedicine is an effective way to translate evidence-based medicine into clinical care when combined with a general educational conference. Patterns of deliveries appear to be changing so that those newborns at highest risk are being referred to the regional perinatal centers.

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