As in many specialty areas of medicine, there exists a shortage of specialist expertise to meet the demands in many hospitals. Neonatal intensive care is one such area. In this study, the investigators wished to test the feasibility of remote rounding using real-time audio and video telemedicine by neonatal intensivists.
This was a prospective study in which 20 pairs of neonates were randomized to 2 groups after being matched for age, diagnosis, and disease severity. In one group, the infants were treated by an on-site neonatologist while the other group was treated by a team led by an off-site neonatologist using telemedicine. The outcomes were then compared.
The study found there were no significant differences in care or outcomes between the 2 groups. The only difference that was encountered was the time spent caring for the patient which was nearly double for the telemedicine physician due to the time required to operate the equipment. Additionally, the response from families was favorable towards the use of telemedicine.
Garingo, Arelene et al. J Telemed Telecare.