ED Telemedicine

Resource availability in US emergency departments (EDs) varies substantially, with major disparities in access. Growing regionalization has contributed to decreased consultant availability in many smaller or rural EDs. Telemedicine could mitigate this by enabling these EDs to connect with expertise when needed.

Telemedicine is feasible and effective for improving clinical care in EDs. Telemedicine may also enable fewer patient transfers and improved coordination of care during transfer. The value of telemedicine has been well established in stroke care delivery, i.e., telestroke. In contrast, telemedicine in pediatric emergency medicine remains underutilized. The role for telemedicine and the extent of update for these applications is unclear.

In 2017-2018, EMNet completed a study to investigate barriers to telemedicine use among 453 rural EDs that reported that they do not receive telemedicine. Among 453 additional EDs that do receive telemedicine, we investigated the utilization of telemedicine for transfer coordination, stroke, and pediatrics. A survey collecting this information, as well as other information about ED characteristics was mailed to each ED. Data on whether or not each ED used telemedicine was collected on the 2016 National ED-Inventory survey. Since then, we have continued to assess ED telemedicine use annually through the NEDI-USA survey.

For more information, please contact Dr. Kori Zachrison at kzachrison@partners.org.

Select telemedicine publications:

  1. Zachrison KS, Hayden EM, Schwamm LH, Espinola JA, Sullivan AF, Boggs KM, Raja AS, Camargo CA Jr. Characterizing New England emergency departments by telemedicine use. West J Emerg Med 2017; 18: 1055-1060. PMID: 29085537
  2. Brova M, Boggs KM, Zachrison KS, Freid RD, Sullivan AF, Espinola JA, Boyle TP, Camargo CA Jr. Pediatric telemedicine use in U.S. emergency departments. Acad Emerg Med 2018; 25: 1427-1432. PMID: 30307078
  3. Zachrison KS, Boggs KM, Hayden E, Espinola JA, Camargo CA Jr. A national survey of telemedicine use by US emergency departments. J Telemed Telecare 2019; in press. PMID: 30558518
  4. Zachrison KS, Boggs KM, Hayden EM, Espinola JA, Camargo CA Jr. Understanding barriers to telemedicine implementation in rural emergency departments. Ann Emerg Med 2019; in press. PMID: 31474481
  5. Freeman RE, Boggs KM, Zachrison KS, Freid RD, Sullivan AF, Espinola JA, Camargo CA Jr. National study of telepsychiatry use in U.S. emergency departments. Psychiatr Serv 2020; in press.