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Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Dec;37(12):1990-1996. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05133.

The Effect Of A Newborn Telehealth Program On Transfers Avoided: A Multiple-Baseline Study.

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Jordan Albritton ( ) is a senior statistical data analyst in the Telehealth Services Department, Intermountain Healthcare, in Midvale, Utah.
Lory Maddox is clinical manager of Connect Care Pro-Pediatrics in the Telehealth Services Department, Intermountain Healthcare, in Midvale.
Joseph Dalto is a data manager in the Telehealth Services Department, Intermountain Healthcare, in Midvale.
Erick Ridout is medical director of Neonatal Transport and Outreach and of Quality and Patient Safety, Dixie Regional Medical Center, in Saint George, Utah.
Stephen Minton is medical director of the neonatal intensive care unit at Utah Valley Hospital and medical director of newborn telehealth, Intermountain Healthcare, in Provo, Utah.


Clinicians who rarely perform neonatal resuscitation exhibit skill deterioration. Telehealth addresses this challenge by facilitating video connections between neonatologists at tertiary care centers and providers at smaller hospitals. However, there is little empirical evidence about the benefits of telehealth programs for neonatal resuscitation. Thus, we conducted a multiple-baseline study to evaluate the effect of video-assisted resuscitation on the transfer of newborns from eight community hospitals that implemented neonatal telehealth in the period November 2014-December 2015 to level 3 newborn intensive care units. The intervention was associated with a reduction of 0.70 transfers per facility-month and a 29.4 percent reduction in a newborn's odds of being transferred. Annually, this corresponds to 67.2 fewer transfers and an estimated savings of $1,220,352 per year. Avoiding transfers keeps families closer to home, increases community hospital revenue, and eliminates transfer-associated risk. Yet lack of reimbursement for telehealth limits its adoption. Policy changes are necessary to align payment incentives and promote the use of telehealth services.


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