A telemedicine initiative for follow-up of children in rural areas

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A high percentage of children who do not pass hearing screening at birth are lost to follow-up. In some of these cases, the child’s family lives in a rural area and may have trouble getting to a large city with a major medical center. A pilot project has been launched in Tennessee (USA) to provide remote follow-up care to these families.

The Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center has teamed up with the Tennessee Department of Health and has established a remote site in Union City, TN, offering audiology services. In this way, local families in a rural environment have access to an audiologist in Nashville who can interact with them and a local technician, as if they were in the same location. “This allows the clinician at Vanderbilt to control the system at the remote site using some simple secure software.

Additionally, video-conferencing equipment with high definition cameras is used to provide clear real-time communication between the caregiver and the clinician,” explains Devin McCaslin, Associate Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences.

The idea behind the project is that families are more likely to seek help if their child’s hearing loss is confirmed.

Source: Science Daily