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HRMC and MUSC partner to provide telepediatric intensive care

Telemedicine partnership with MUSC provides real-time access to specialized Pediatric Intensivists for critically ill children.



(Varnville, SC) - A partnership between the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), located in Charleston, and Hampton Regional Medical Center (HRMC) will provide emergency room physicians the ability to immediately consult with MUSC Pediatric Intensivists via telemedicine.

HRMC ER Physicians now have the ability to video consult with MUSC Pediatric Intensivists if the severity of a child's illness warrants transfer to the MUSC Pediatric ICU. MUSC physicians and nursing staff utilize high-definition cameras to monitor a child admitted to HRMC in real-time prior to a transfer to their specialized ICU.

As well as a computer mounted camera, the telepediatric system comes equipped with a hand-held camera that can be used to examine the mouth, throat and eyes of a young patient. The hand-held camera can even take a snapshot for physicians to review at a later date, if a child struggles to have an instrument placed in the ear or nose.

Even in a dark hospital room while a patient is sleeping, MUSC pediatric physicians have the ability to monitor a patient and the life-supporting medical devices located inside a patient's room. Blood oxygen levels, heart rates, eye dilation and other signs of possible complications are easily monitored by MUSC specialists from over 10-feet away.

The telepediatric system also provides nursing staff access to an electronic stethoscope that can broadcast patient vital signs directly to MUSC physicians for monitoring.

"The benefit is immense," said MUSC pediatric attending physician Dr. S. David McSwain. "This has allowed us to save the lives of children."

Dr. McSwain went on to describe how telepediatric care can also save the families of critically ill children large amounts of money; helicopter transportation is dispatched only if deemed necessary by MUSC specialists.

The new service will allow physicians to immediately determine if a child's health emergency will require admission to the MUSC Pediatric Intensive Care, in Charleston. The telepediatric device also provides MUSC specialists the ability to guide HRMC physicians through specialty medical procedures, if required.

"The telepediatric partnership with MUSC is definitely an asset to our rural community," said HRMC Emergency Room Nurse Manager Niki Goodson. "Being that we are roughly two-hours away from a pediatric intensive care unit, it gives you an advantage to have that pediatric specialist available in minutes instead of potentially hours."