During a disaster, hospitals may be overwhelmed and have an insufficient number of pediatric specialists available to care for injured children. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of remotely providing pediatric expertise via a robot to treat pediatric victims.
In 2008, Los Angeles County held 2 drills involving telemedicine. The first was the Tri-Hospital drill in which 3 Los Angeles County hospitals, one being a pediatric hospital, participated. The disaster scenario involved a Metrolink train crash, resulting in a large surge of traumatic injuries. The second drill involved multiple agencies and was called the Great California Shakeout, a simulated earthquake exercise. The telemedicine equipment installed is an InTouch Health, Inc, Santa Barbara, CA robotic telecommunications system. We used mixed-methods to evaluate the use of telemedicine during these drills.
Pediatric specialists successfully provided remote triage and treatment consults of victims via the robot. The robot proved to be a useful means to extend resources and provide expert consult if pediatric specialists were unable to physically be at the site.
Telemedicine can be used in the delayed treatment areas as well as for training first receivers to collaborate with specialists in remote locations to triage and treat seriously injured pediatric victims.
Burke RV, Berg BM, Vee P, Morton I, Nager A, Neches R, et al. Using robotic telecommunications to triage pediatric disaster victims. J. Pediatr. Surg. 2012 Jan;47(1):221–4.