NEWS | June 6, 2013

Epidemiology doctoral student wins award from American Telemedicine Association


Nikki Yang, a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Epidemiology, recently won the 2013 Student Paper Award from the American Telemedicine Association.

Nikki Yang
Nikki Yang

Yang’s research focuses on the cost-effectiveness and quality of care of a pediatric critical care telemedicine program in rural emergency departments. The title of her award-winning paper is “Cost-Effectiveness of a Telemedicine Program in Rural Emergency Departments.”

There is an increasing use of telemedicine to provide pediatric specialty consultations for seriously ill children presenting to rural emergency departments. The objective of Yang’s study was to assess the cost effectiveness of using telemedicine to provide pediatric critical care consultations compared to consultations provided via telephone, the current standard of care. Yang and her team collected retrospective data from the charts of children at eight rural emergency departments in California who received telemedicine and telephone consultations from pediatric critical-care specialists at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

In Yang's study, the cost of transferring a child from those rural emergency departments to UC Davis was based on reimbursements paid by insurance companies and Medi-Cal.

The study found that telemedicine consultations resulted in 31 percent fewer transfers compared to telephone consultations among similarly ill children. The average cost for a telemedicine consultation was $2,096 per child, per emergency department, per year.

The telemedicine consultations’ estimated savings in cost compared to telephone consultations was $38,366 per emergency department per year. By reducing the likelihood of patient transfers, telemedicine consultations demonstrated cost savings and cost-effectiveness for insurance companies, Medi-Cal and patients' out-of-pocket costs.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at