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Low Utilization of Synchronous Telemedicine in Pediatric Critical Care Interfacility Transport: Barriers and Lessons

Published:April 08, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amj.2022.03.004

      Abstract

      Objective

      The use of telemedicine has increased and may enhance the care of children during medical transport. We aimed to evaluate the feasibility of synchronous telemedicine connectivity before interfacility transport of critically ill children by a pediatric transport team.

      Methods

      We performed a prospective, observational feasibility study of the introduction of synchronous telemedicine into an established pediatric transport team from 2019 to 2020. The outcomes examined included connectivity, physician workload, transport team satisfaction, and patient care outcomes.

      Results

      Among 118 eligible transports, telemedicine was considered in 23 transports (19%), including 11 transports in which an attempt to connect was sought and 12 in which telemedicine activation was offered but not attempted. The median connection time was 2.9 minutes (interquartile range, 1.7-4.4 minutes), and clinical care was altered in 1 case. Connection failed in 2 cases (18.2%). In 50% of cases, concurrent medical control physician workload prevented activation. There were no perceived benefits in 41.7% of cases. Team members indicated the desire for future telemedicine use in only 54.6% of cases.

      Conclusions

      We found low utilization of synchronous telemedicine in interfacility pediatric transport. The identified barriers included reliable connectivity, physician workload, and low perceived benefit. Lessons learned and future research suggestions are presented to mitigate these barriers.

      Abbreviations:

      PedTT (Pediatric specialty transport team), PICU (Pediatric intensive care unit)
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