The objective of this study was to examine the socioeconomic benefits to the patients and families attending a regional pediatric neurosurgery telemedicine clinic (PNTMC).
A PNTMC was organized by the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery of the University of Florida College of Medicine–Jacksonville based at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and by the Children’s Medical Services (CMS) to service the Southeast Georgia Health District. Monthly clinics are held with the CMS nursing personnel at the remote location. A retrospective review of the clinic population was performed, socioeconomic data were extracted, and cost savings were calculated.
Clinic visits from August 2011 through January 2017 were reviewed. Fifty-five patients were seen in a total of 268 initial and follow-up PNTMC appointments. The average round-trip distance for a family from home to the University of Florida Pediatric Neurosurgery (Jacksonville) clinic location versus the PNTMC remote location was 190 versus 56 miles, respectively. The families saved an average of 2.5 hours of travel time and 134 miles of travel distance per visit. The average transportation cost savings for all visits per family and for all families was $180 and $9711, respectively. The average lost work cost savings for all visits per family and for all families was $43 and $2337, respectively. The combined transportation and work cost savings for all visits totaled $223 per family and $12,048 for all families. Average savings of $0.68/mile and $48.50/visit in utilizing the PNTMC were calculated.
Managing pediatric neurosurgery patients and their families via telemedicine is feasible and saves families substantial travel time, travel cost, and time away from work.