Telemedicine Journal and e-Health
Volume 20, Issue 6
Background: A telemedicine program was developed between the Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, DC, and the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A needs assessment and a curriculum of on-site training conferences were devised preparatory to an ongoing telemedicine consultation program for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities in the underserved eastern region of the UAE.
Materials and Methods: Weekly telemedicine consultations are provided by a multidisciplinary faculty. Patients are presented in the UAE with their therapists and families. Real-time (video over Internet protocol; average connection, 768 kilobits/s) telemedicine conferences are held weekly following previews of medical records. A full consultation report follows each telemedicine session.
Results: Between February 29, 2012 and June 26, 2013, 48 weekly 1-h live interactive telemedicine consultations were conducted on 48 patients (28 males, 20 females; age range, 8 months–22 years; median age, 5.4 years). The primary diagnoses were cerebral palsy, neurogenetic disorders, autism, neuromuscular disorders, congenital anomalies, global developmental delay, systemic disease, and epilepsy. Common comorbidities were cognitive impairment, communication disorders, and behavioral disorders. Specific recommendations included imaging and DNA studies, antiseizure management, spasticity management including botulinum toxin protocols, and specific therapy modalities including taping techniques, customized body vests, and speech/language and behavioral therapy. Improved outcomes reported were in clinician satisfaction, achievement of therapy goals for patients, and requests for ongoing sessions.
Conclusions: Weekly telemedicine sessions coupled with triannual training conferences were successfully implemented in a clinical program dedicated to patients with neurodevelopmental disabilities by the Center for Neuroscience at CNMC and the UAE government. International consultations in neurodevelopmental disabilities utilizing telemedicine services offer a reliable and productive method for joint clinical programs.
Pearl, P.L., Sable, C., Evans, S., Knight, J., Cunningham, P. et al. (2014). International telemedicine consultations for neurodevelopmental disabilities. Telemedicine and e-Health, 20(6), 559-562. doi:10.1089/tmj.2013.0275