Remote Patient Monitoring and Telemedicine in Neonatal and Pediatric Settings: Scoping Literature Review

Farzan Sasangohar, Elise Davis, Bita A Kash, Sohail R Shah
Journal of Medical Internet Research 2018 December 20, 20 (12): e295

BACKGROUND: Telemedicine and telehealth solutions are emerging rapidly in health care and have the potential to decrease costs for insurers, providers, and patients in various settings. Pediatric populations that require specialty care are disadvantaged socially or economically or have chronic health conditions that will greatly benefit from results of studies utilizing telemedicine technologies. This paper examines the emerging trends in pediatric populations as part of a systematic literature review and provides a scoping review of the type, extent, and quantity of research available.

OBJECTIVE: This paper aims to examine the role of remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telemedicine in neonatal and pediatric settings. Findings can be used to identify strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the field. The identification of gaps will allow for interventions or research to improve health care quality and costs.

METHODS: A systematic literature review is being conducted to gather an adequate amount of relevant research for telehealth in pediatric populations. The fields of RPM and telemedicine are not yet very well established by the health care services sector, and definitions vary across health care systems; thus, the terms are not always defined similarly throughout the literature. Three databases were scoped for information for this specific review, and 56 papers were included for review.

RESULTS: Three major telemedicine trends emerged from the review of 45 relevant papers-RPM, teleconsultation, and monitoring patients within the hospital, but without contact-thus, decreasing the likelihood of infection or other adverse health effects.

CONCLUSIONS: While the current telemedicine approaches show promise, limited studied conditions and small sample sizes affect generalizability, therefore, warranting further research. The information presented can inform health care providers of the most widely implemented, studied, and effective forms of telemedicine for patients and their families and the telemedicine initiatives that are most cost efficient for health systems. While the focus of this review is to summarize some telehealth applications in pediatrics, we have also presented research studies that can inform providers about the importance of data sharing of remote monitoring data between hospitals. Further reports will be developed to inform health systems as the systematic literature review continues.

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