NEWS | December 16, 2014

Study funded on the clinical, financial effectiveness of telemedicine versus telephone consultations


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. 

James Marcin James Marcin

“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.

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital for children, serving infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and Level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for critically ill children. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. With more than 120 physicians in 33 subspecialties, UC Davis Children's Hospital has more than 74,000 clinic and hospital visits and 13,000 emergency department visits each year. For more information, visit