Jul 12, 2017Telemedicine Reaps Rewards
A pilot study’s results suggest that telemedicine may provide athletic trainers an easier way of communicating with health care providers to treat and manage concussions. In the study, athletic trainers and nurse practitioners were trained to use telemedicine for student-athletes who had sustained a concussion. With the contact between nurse practitioners and athletic trainers facilitated through telemedicine, the time and distance relating to treatment were reduced. In turn, satisfaction with care was high.
The student-athletes included in the study were between 13 and 18 years old and had all sustained concussions. The study was conducted during the fall sports season from August through December.
One of the best features of telemedicine for athletic trainers was that it could be used while they were on location for sports events. The telemedicine technology that was used for the study implemented a SCAT3 symptom scale and was HIPPA-compliant.
“Using this technology is not only cost-effective, but it increases the number of providers that can manage concussions,” Cydne Marckmann, DNP, ARNP, FAANP, a Family Nurse Practitioner at MultiCare East Pierce Family Medicine in Puyallup, Wash., told Infectious Diseases in Children. “This gets kids back to school quicker and helps manage any pitfalls that may come along the way.”
Along with its accessibility, athletic trainers were happy to see that telemedicine proved beneficial to rural and urban areas, alike. The study found parents were particularly interested in it because it provided quality care without the loss of time at work.
“Urban equity in health care is more of an issue than we suspected,” said Dr. Marckmann. “I had a lot of parents who were within 10 miles of my clinic, but there were a lot of low wage-earning single moms. For them to take off four hours from work [to come to the clinic] is a reduction in money needed for food and other necessities.”