Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics in Tyler, Texas, has linked its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with Children’s Medical Center’s new innovative neonatal telemedicine programme called TeleNICU.
It is reportedly the first hospital system in Texas to join this neonatal telemedicine programme.
The telemedicine programme will provide physicians at the NICU access to the highly trained, board-certified UT Southwestern neonatologists at Children’s medical and consult them on providing care for the region’s tiniest and most seriously-ill babies.
The TeleNICU programme utilises specialised equipment and secure broadband transmission to allow two-way, real-time interactive communication between hospitals and enable expert neonatologists at Children’s to virtually examine newborns at distant-site NICUs.
Children’s Medical Center executive vice-president and COO, Doug Hock, said the centre is delighted that Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, a respected leader in adult and pediatric care statewide and in east Texas, is the inaugural TeleNICU affiliate.
"The TeleNICU programme allows Children’s medical staff to efficiently share their expertise in the complex care of newborns and infants with neonatologists at Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler, which supports our mutual goal of continuously improving the quality of pediatric care," Hock said.
Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler can now connect to Children’s through a mobile equipment cart that includes medical-quality videoconferencing, data transfer and digital scoping equipment.
Neonatologists in Tyler can use the Children’s TeleNICU service for a wide range of consultations, including interpreting medical data and images, confirming diagnoses, and conferring on treatment plans.
The Children’s Medical Center TeleNICU programme can help facilitate sound decision-making in the region about whether and when transfers are necessary, which is intended to result in both improved care and reduced cost.
TeleNICU consultation is expected to minimise or even eliminate the need for transport in many cases, so newborns can remain at their home hospitals longer – reducing the stress of travel on both patients and families.
Trinity Mother Frances-Tyler NICU neonatologist and medical director Dr Brenda Morris said: "One of the most exciting benefits we’ve already seen is the opportunity for families to participate directly in a telemedicine consult, so they can see the discussion between the doctors and even ask questions."
Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics includes The Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler, Mother Frances Hospital-Jacksonville, Mother Frances Hospital-Winnsboro, Trinity Mother Frances Rehabilitation Hospital, affiliated with HealthSouth, Tyler ContinueCARE Hospital, a long-term acute care facility, and Trinity Clinic.