Sunday, April 3, 2011

Children's Healthcare News

Researchers at HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau discovered that medical homes can ensure better healthcare for children. These findings were published in the April issue of “Pediatrics” where it was reported that only 57 percent of children in the U.S. have access to a medical home. Also children without a medical home are nearly four times more likely to have unmet needs for healthcare, three times more likely to have unmet needs for dental care, and were less likely to have had a preventive healthcare visit in the past.

It was found that medical home access is twice as prevalent among children in families where English is the primary language, children in fair or poor health were about half as likely as healthier children to have a medical home, and insured children were almost twice as likely to have medical homes as uninsured children.

Daniel Low, MD of Seattle Children’s Hospital led a research study to develop the iResus application to help in emergencies. Thirty one doctors at the Royal United Hospital in the UK took part in the study. The purpose of the study with results published in the April issue of “Anesthesia” was to see if the iResus application using user-friendly prompts produced better results in a simulated medical emergency than physicians relying purely on memory.

The doctors were divided into two groups. One group was armed with the iResus and the other without. They were put through a simulated cardiac arrest emergency with the doctors’ knowledge and skills evaluated using the CASTest scoring system.

Doctors who used the iResus application scored an average of 85 out of 100 which was significantly higher than the 72 achieved in the control group. It was found that one of the most significant ways that iResus helped was with out-of-hospital pediatric emergencies to determine what, when, and how much of a drug should be specifically administered to children.

The Upper Peninsula Telehealth Network of Michigan part of the Marquette General Hospital System is the state’s most extensive telehealth network and provides clinical telemedicine services to residents of Upper Peninsula and the Northern Great Lake region.

By having an extensive telehealth network, Marquette General made it possible for a father to see his newborn son from 6000 miles away where he is stationed at an Iraqi Air Force Base. Stephanie Craddock and her husband Andrew were miles apart when their son Ethan was born at the Marquette General’s Birthing Center. Video conferencing equipment was used to enable Andrew to see his newborn son.

To help children with special needs in the state, the Department of Community Health’s Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) provides telemedicine services to care for children that must have access to bleeding disorder specialty services according to the monthly newsletter “CAH Hospital” published by the Michigan Critical Access Hospital.

These services are available to residents in the northern Lower Peninsula with a team from Munson Healthcare in Traverse City and a physician on staff at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit available to provide telemedicine consulting.

Also, the e-news online publication “Michigan Telehealth” promotes the use of telehealth to deliver healthcare to Michigan’s residents who qualify under CSHCS. The April 1, 2011 issue explains why telemedicine makes sense in situations where specialty care is greatly needed.

For example, Madelyn age 15 was diagnosed with epilepsy last April and her sister Gwyneth age 14 was diagnosed with diabetes six months later. The entire family was extremely upset with the diagnoses and was faced with the challenge of managing both of their daughters’ medical care.

Unfortunately, their community does not have pediatric sub-specialists nearby. There is however, a pediatric endocrinologist that comes to their area every three months and sees Gwyneth, but Madelyn has to travel eight hours one way to see her specialist. Madelyn is frustrated with her specialty physician being so far away because she doesn’t like to miss school and she is scared about changes in her treatment regime.

This is a situation that needs to change. According to e-news, Chief Medical Consultant for CSHCS, George Baker, MD, FAAP who recently retired, has been very active promoting the use of telemedicine. He has influenced the state’s policy on Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth, worked to obtain a federal grant for pediatric epilepsy and telemedicine, and generally gets the word out on how telemedicine can play a vital role to help children and teens particularly in Michigan.

For more information on “Michigan Telehealth” contact the Editor Sally Davis at