A shortage of pediatric specialists limits access to quality care for many children with treatable, yet specialized conditions. At Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California, a pioneering collaborative technology solution is connecting specialists at the hospital with patients in distant clinics for access to quality care without the burden of travel for doctors or families.
In many rural areas and most developing countries, pediatric doctors and specialists are only available in a few locations or not at all. As a result, general practitioners have difficulty referring their patients to specialists, and sick children must travel long distances at a cost to their families and their health. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Dr. William Kennedy, a pediatric urologist at Packard Children’s Hospital, often traveled two hours each way to care for patients in Monterey County, 80 miles away.
To begin to address the global shortage of pediatric specialists, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital partnered with Cisco to deliver specialist care remotely via the Connected Healthy Children Initiative. In 2012, the hospital became the first to enable remote clinical interactions for pediatric care using Cisco HealthPresence technology. Now, Dr. Kennedy can stay in Palo Alto and still care for patients at a Monterey clinic where Packard nurse practitioners support his work.
The success of the pilot has shown that pediatric care can be delivered at a distance using Cisco HealthPresence technology between dedicated locations and enthusiastic participants. The impact of the program is multiplied by increasing the number of patients Dr. Kennedy and his colleagues can treat, reducing the cost for families by eliminating travel time, and the proven model has been adopted by more locations around the globe.