Children’s Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
In Minnesota, 80 percent of pediatric specialists reside in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area, making it difficult for patients in outlying regions to receive needed treatment. As the technological, legislative, and reimbursement landscapes became more favorable to telemedicine, leaders at Children’s Minnesota looked for opportunities to improve access to care through virtual connections.
To that end, what started just three years ago as video consultations between specialists at Children’s Minnesota and physicians in farther removed areas has grown into a full-blown telemedicine program. “We started with ED-to-ED connections to provide pediatric consultation on the fly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to small community and rural hospitals that don’t have pediatric emergency specialists,” says Charles Blackwell, MD, telehealth medical director for Children’s Minnesota.
Within a short time, Children’s Minnesota expanded its reach beyond emergency care to provide primary and specialty services through realtime, interactive audio and visual tools.