Telehealth and Children with Disabilities
Your child with special health care needs requires constant monitoring regarding respiratory difficulties and feeding issues. How does a parent carry out these duties while maintaining the “routine” family activities?
In these examples and so many other circumstances, telehealth could play a critical role in your family’s daily activities. In the first scenario, a rapid contact would be made with a covering practitioner (be it a physician, nurse practitioner or other health professionals) by means of a variety of telecommunication tools, including telephones, smartphone, and mobile wireless devices. In many of these cases, the difficulties can be resolved without the need for an office visit – thereby reducing costs and interference with the family’s scheduled events. In the second example, continuing electronic monitoring would automatically raise an alarm bringing contact between the monitors and the caregiver; much like the home burglar systems increasingly covering private homes.
In addition, in the second example, enter The MAVEN Project (Medical Alumni Volunteer Expert Network). The MAVEN Project is a mission-driven health care nonprofit organization that provides timely access to medical expertise by linking their corps of physician volunteer experts to organizations working with under-served populations, via telehealth. In this case, your child’s primary care provider could connect with a MAVEN Project specialist via HIPAA-secure telehealth technology to receive advice about your child’s (deidentified) case. Instead of waiting months to see a specialist and traveling to yet another appointment, with the MAVEN Project physician volunteer’s guidance, your child’s care could be managed locally in the primary care setting or could be effectively pre-triaged by a specialist, confirming that you do need to make the trip to see the specialist in person.