How Telemedicine helps the Emergency Department
There are over 100 Emergency Department's in Alabama and the vast majority do not have physicians trained in emergency medicine or pediatric training, other than what they receive in medical school. The majority of rural emergency departments see less than 8,000 total patients per year with one-third being pediatrics. Most are routine, non-emergent problems. The low volume and inadequate or non-existent training in the care of children sets up those communities for substandard care when a true emergency presents.
Telemedicine, a model that will link rural hospitals to emergency medicine expertise at Children's Hospital, can provide a solution. It will provide emergency medical coverage to emergency departments in limited-service hospitals that provide essential services to communities in rural areas. The telemedicine control center would be housed at Children's Hospital Emergency Department. it is a two-way system that allows the consulting physician to talk to the patient and health care provider at the rural hospital and they can also see the consulting physician. As the medical staff in the rural community interacts with Children's Hospital to problem solve, they learn the standard of care and the patients/families benefit from the expertise without the additional cost and risk of transfer to Birmingham.