Telemedicine aids early diagnosis: study

Author: Shawn Rhea

A new telemedicine study has found that review of electronically transmitted heart images by remote specialists allowed for earlier diagnosis and treatment of pediatric heart problems.

Nearly 72% of the tests were ordered as a result of heart murmurs detected by local physicians, and roughly 74% of the echocardiograms were determined by the specialists to be normal. Fewer than 2% of the cases needed to be referred to Children's Mercy for treatment, the study found. "This study helps illustrate how telemedicine can save families significant worry, time and expense," said Seiji Ito, co-author of the study and a resident at Children's Mercy. During the 11-year study period, methods for transmitting the echocardiograms evolved from videotaped images sent via an integrated services digital network to digital studies sent over the Internet.

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