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Telemed J E Health. 2008 Jun;14(5):434-40. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2007.0075.

Clinical management and patient outcomes among children and adolescents receiving telemedicine consultations for obesity.

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  • 1University of California Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.


Rural residents report lower likelihood of exercising, and higher rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes compared to their urban counterparts. Our goals were to (1) investigate the outcomes of telemedicine consultations for pediatric obesity on changes/additions to diagnoses, diagnostic evaluation or treatment, and (2) determine whether changes in diagnostic and management recommendations made by the consultant were associated with improvements in patient nutrition, activity level, and weight. We conducted a retrospective medical record review of patients referred to a University-affiliated Children's Hospital Pediatric Telemedicine Weight Management Clinic for a diagnosis of obesity. Of the 139 children and adolescents who received pediatric weight management consultations during the study period, 99 patients met inclusion criteria. Weight management consultations resulted in changes/additions to diagnoses in 77.8% of patients and changes/additions to diagnostic evaluation in 79.8% of patients. Of patients seen more than once, 80.7% showed improvement in clinical outcomes. Of patients seen more than once, 80.6% improved their diet, 69.4% increased activity levels, 21.0% showed slowing of weight gain or weight maintenance, and 22.6% showed weight reduction. Improvements in clinical outcomes were not associated with changes/additions to diagnoses (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.98; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 0.25-3.98) and were weakly associated with changes/additions to diagnostic evaluations (OR = 2.23; 95% CI = 0.58-8.73). However, changes/additions to treatment were associated with improvement in weight status (OR = 9.0; 95% CI = 1.34-76.21). Obesity consultations were associated with changes/additions to diagnoses, diagnostic evaluation, and treatment. Treatment changes were associated with improvement in weight status. Telemedicine weight management consultations have the potential to result in modifications in patient care plans and outcomes.

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