East Tennessee Children’s Hospital

Telehealth: Improving access to Pediatric Sub-Specialists

When a primary care physician identifies a unique health problem in a child, early evaluation, diagnosis and treatment improve outcomes. A major barrier to early treatment for low-income families in rural areas is transportation. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital will establish a Telemedicine Service to increase access to Pediatric Specialists for patients who live in Grainger County and northeastern Jefferson County. In order to improve access to subspecialty pediatric physicians by families in both of these counties, and also to offer convenient testing, Children’s will establish a remote telemedicine site at Morristown Hamblen Hospital (MHH). By the end of the first year, seven pediatric subspecialists are to be practicing telemedicine through that site. The Trinity Grant will fund the purchase of equipment, promotion, connectivity, staff education, and general operations for the program’s first year. Future sustainability is ensured by the implementation of Tennessee law mandating physician reimbursement for telemedicine visits, continuing use of equipment, and support from Children’s and partnering facilities.