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Telemed J E Health. 2011 Jan-Feb;17(1):35-9. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2010.0089. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

The Pacific Asynchronous TeleHealth (PATH) system: review of 1,000 pediatric teleconsultations.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii 96859, USA. christopher.mahnke@us.army.mil

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact on pediatric care of the Pacific Asynchronous TeleHealth (PATH) system, a provider-to-provider teleconsultation platform utilized by military medical facilities throughout the Pacific Region. This review focuses on access to care, quality of care, and cost savings for the Department of Defense as a result of ongoing development of the PATH system from 2006 to 2009.

METHODS:

This is a retrospective review of 1,000 consecutive teleconsultations occurring from January 2006 to March 2009. Three pediatric subspecialists reviewed the characteristics of each teleconsultation and the ultimate outcome.

RESULTS:

The PATH system processed > 300 pediatric teleconsultations in 2009 from 20 hospitals and clinics throughout the Pacific Region. The number of teleconsultations has grown significantly since 2006. Median teleconsultation response time was 14.5 h with 97% of teleconsultations answered within 1 week. The majority (75%) of teleconsultations came from areas without host nation pediatric subspecialty resources. Most teleconsultations (72%) involved diagnostic questions, whereas 21% were primarily for treatment issues. Teleconsultations originated predominantly from outpatient clinics (90%), with question resolution in 60% of cases without a face-to-face subspecialty evaluation. Fifteen percent of teleconsultations resulted in patient transfer to our center for definitive diagnosis and treatment. The diagnostic and/or treatment plan was modified in 74% of teleconsultations. PATH precluded patient transfer in 12%-43% of teleconsultations (annual savings: $208,283-$746,348 per year) and generated an average of 1.7 relative value units per teleconsultation.

CONCLUSIONS:

PATH provided patient access to pediatric subspecialty expertise via provider-to-provider asynchronous teleconsultation. Internet-based pediatric subspecialty teleconsultation provides fast, convenient, cost-effective, quality pediatric care to populations of patients who might otherwise require transfer to a distant medical facility for more advanced care. PATH serves as a model for future asynchronous teleconsultation platforms in both the military and civilian healthcare arenas.

PMID:
21214304
DOI:
10.1089/tmj.2010.0089
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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