Johns Hopkins Expands Telemedicine

“There are many successful telemedicine projects taking place at Johns Hopkins which is just the beginning”, said, Rebecca Canino, Administrative Director of the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Telemedicine as reported in the current issue of the Johns Hopkins publication DOME.

The Office of Telemedicine created July 1, 2017 is developing a robust and connected telemedicine program to link across the Johns Hopkins enterprise. The Office is trying to fill the gap in service by working with infectious disease specialists at Johns Hopkins Hospital who are going to offer remote consultations to patients with HIV and hepatitis C in Western Maryland.

Right now, JHU pediatric cardiologists are remotely assessing irregular heartbeats in fetuses of mothers at Sibley Memorial Hospital  clinics in Washington D.C. They are able to discuss treatment plans with the parents in real time.

Another telemedicine innovation includes using a custom made telemedicine cart to examine a patient in the Emergency Department (ED) at Johns Hopkins which is going to help off-site clinicians assess patients and initiate care.  Patients are screened in a treatment room in the ED using the cart.

The connection in the ED is established before the patient walks in, lets the off-site doctor or physician assistant talk to the patient and then moves a camera that is on top of the screen. Meanwhile a certified nursing assistant in the ED can use a hand held camera to zoom in on wounds and look into ears, eyes, and throats. A stethoscope can be placed on the patient which is able to send the sound of the heartbeat to doctors at other facilities.

Clinicians who are not in the hospital have access to Epic, the EMR which holds patient histories and is able to store images, videos, and other information gathered during the technology-enabled consultation.

More than 1,500 ED patients have been screened since April 2017 using the telemedicine cart. Today, carts are coming to EDs at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and to Howard County General Hospital.

Another successful telemedicine program enables elementary school students to get appointments with physicians at Johns Hopkins without leaving the school nurse’s office. Howard County Hospital is participating in a telemedicine program in elementary schools that has a high numbers of students who don’t have health insurance or a primary care provider.

When students see the school nurse for a headache, sore throat, earache, rash or cough, they get their vitals taken and they are connected with a doctor using secure computer software. After the physician is on the screen the nurse can use one of several Bluetooth exam tools as part of the doctor’s exam.

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