Telehealth technology can safely save time and costs in healthcare

Health provider follow-up via computer or smartphone is a viable alternative to in-person patient follow-up for certain pediatric heart conditions, according to results of a pilot study presented this week at the AHA Scientific Sessions.

Ashraf Harahsheh, MD, a cardiologist at Children’s National Hospital and the study’s senior author, said: “With cardiologists like Dr. Craig Sable, over the years at Children’s National Pediatric Cardiology, we have used telehealth for physicians to communicate with Physician-to-physician communication.” “But this is the first time that we actually have the proper technology to speak directly to patients and their families at home without the need for an in-person visit.”

  

“We will[telemedicine]R&D has become a major daily part of reading echocardiograms in the region and around the world,” said Craig Sable, MD, associate director of cardiology at National Children’s Fund. “Telemedicine has enabled UNICEF physicians to expand their services to improve the care of children and avoid unnecessary transportation, family travel and off-duty time. “

Participants in the virtual visit pilot study were previously patients with hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, syncope or needing to discuss cardiac test results. The retrospective sample included 18 eligible households and received virtual visits/telemedicine follow-up options between 2016 and 2019. Six months after the virtual visit, none of the participants asked urgent heart problems. Although many (39%) scheduled additional in-person cardiac visits, none of these follow-up in-person visits were the result of insufficient virtual visits.

“There are many more questions to be answered about how best to appropriately use technological advances that allow us to see and hear our patients without them having to travel great distances,” added Dr. Harahsheh. My team and I are encouraged by the results of our small study and the anecdotal positive comments from families participating in the program. We look forward to identifying how these approaches can be successfully and cost-effectively implemented as our other options. Families get the care they need .”

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