The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $1,198,384 grant to UC Davis pediatrician James Marcin to investigate how telemedicine consultations in emergency departments impact clinical outcomes, including cost effectiveness, compared with telephone consultations.
“While telemedicine has been increasingly used as a means of providing emergency and critical care consultations to seriously ill and injured children in emergency departments, little is known about the impact that these consultations have on clinical and financial outcomes,” said Marcin, the study’s principle investigator and interim chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at UC Davis Children's Hospital.
Other UC Davis co-investigators on the study are Thomas Nesbitt, associate vice chancellor for strategic technologies and alliances; Nate Kuppermann, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine; Byung-Kwang Yoo, associate professor of the Department of Public Health Sciences; and Daniel Tancredi, associate professor (in residence) of the Department of Pediatrics.
The study will assess the effectiveness of telemedicine versus telephone consultations on:
- quality of care provided
- frequency and appropriateness of admission and transfers from rural hospitals
- frequency of physician-related medication errors
- costs of care
The three-year study will ask participating emergency departments to obtain consultations using either telemedicine or the telephone during a six-month period of time.
Marcin hopes that this study will provide a solid cost-benefit analysis of the use of telemedicine versus telephone consultations in emergency-room settings.