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TeleNICU links Texas medical center with other facilities

Monday November 11, 2013
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Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics in Tyler, Texas, has linked its neonatal ICU with University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as part of the Children’s Medical Center TeleNICU program. The new telemedicine program enables healthcare professionals to collaborate on diagnosis and care for NICU patients.

According to a news release, specialized neonatal nurses and physicians staffing the Level III NICU at Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler can connect to Children’s through a mobile equipment cart that includes medical-quality videoconferencing, secure data transfer and a specialized stethoscope and camera for the physical examination. Neonatologists in Tyler can use the Children’s TeleNICU service for a wide range of consults, including interpreting medical data and images, confirming diagnoses, and conferring on treatment plans.

UT Southwestern healthcare professionals at Children’s Level IV NICU in Dallas are able to virtually examine newborns using specialized cameras and stethoscopes, and view and discuss medical tests with colleagues in real time. In some cases, TeleNICU consultation will eliminate the need for transport to another hospital, so newborns can remain in Tyler and avoid the stress of transfer and travel on fragile patients and their families.

“One of the most exciting benefits we’ve already seen is the opportunity for families to participate directly in a telemedicine consult, so they can see the discussion between the doctors and even ask questions,” Brenda Morris, MD, neonatologist and medical director of the Trinity Mother Frances-Tyler NICU, said in the release.

Morris says it’s very reassuring for mothers and other family members to see physicians at both locations discussing the baby. Whether the baby remains in Tyler or is transferred to another hospital, family members are able to participate in the discussion and see that such decisions are being made thoughtfully and with genuine concern for the welfare of their baby.


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