WICHITA – For some small communities in Kansas, advanced specialty pediatric services are difficult to find. The WESLEYCare Telemedicine Network has changed that for many of those rural areas by now providing remote pediatric echocardiography services.
“The move toward telemedicine gives us an additional resource for times when there may be limited availability of services in a particular area,” said Dr. Barry Bloom, MD, Wesley Medical Center’s medical director of neonatology. “The pediatric cardiology team members available throughout our organization are very experienced with this approach and are well-respected for their skills.”
In the past, options for the evaluation of infants and children with suspected heart disease at hospitals without an onsite pediatric cardiologist were limited. Because of the infrequent occurrence of heart problems in infants and children compared to adults, there is often not enough frequency to warrant the presence of a full-time pediatric cardiologist.
Now, through the WESLEYCare Telemedicine Network, telemedicine consults can be performed on children with suspected congenital heart disease. This new service further augments the stroke and neurology services traditionally offered through the network.
Children in rural communities outside of Wichita can be evaluated in their home community using echocardiography, or ultrasounds of the heart. This non-invasive technique provides accurate diagnostic information about the structure and function of a child’s heart, and has become the primary tool in the evaluation of these patients.
These echocardiograms can be viewed in real time as they are performed by the technician at the patient’s local hospital. This allows timely diagnosis with medical management and helps avoid the unnecessary transport of children who are ultimately found to have a normal cardiac evaluation.
“We want to provide services for pediatric patients as close to home as possible,” said Bill Voloch, Wesley’s president and CEO. “No parents want to travel unnecessarily for evaluation screenings that could be facilitated right there at their own local hospital.”
Wesley Children’s Hospital recently expanded its own pediatric cardiology team with the addition of pediatric cardiologists Dr. Pooja Desai, MD, and Dr. Rishi Ram Adhikari, MD. Both care for children at Wesley’s pediatric subspecialty clinic.
“Wesley’s family-centered, team approach to pediatric patient care works well in telemedicine, as the approach is the same with physicians, technicians, RNs – all working with the child and with each other,” Dr. Desai said.
The growing use of telemedicine is providing lifesaving benefits to patients and support for rural physicians and caregivers throughout the country. The WESLEYCare Telemedicine Network has established partnerships with communities throughout Kansas, including Chanute, Hoisington, Lyons, Plainville, Syracuse and Hutchinson.
For more information about Wesley Medical Center and its telemedicine services, please visit www.wesleymc.com.
Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER, Galichia ER and the region’s only pediatric ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, multiple WesleyCare clinics and is currently building the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital – Wesley Children’s Hospital. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.