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Children's Mercy Wichita starts pediatric surgery clinic

The clinic, which will be done using telemedicine, will allow surgeons to see patients for pre- and post-operative appointments remotely.

The clinic is intended to help reduce travel time for families who need to go to Kansas City for the actual surgery.

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Source: Wichita Eagle

Telemedicine outreach

Pre- and post-operative surgical appointments save hours and dollars

New technology is minimizing hours and dollars spent for many patients while pediatric general surgical care is now more easily accessible in additional Kansas and Missouri locations, as a result of the new telemedicine program provided by Sohail R. Shah, MD, MSHA, FAAP, Surgical Director of Telemedicine and Outreach, and others in the Section of General and Thoracic Surgery.

The new program allows doctors in Kansas City to remotely bring quality pediatric surgical care closer to patients' homes for pre-operative and post-operative appointments. Currently, doctors see patients via the telemedicine clinics in Wichita and Joplin, rotating locations, for one day each month.

Luke Draeger, a 13-year-old patient, and his father Roger Draeger of Galetha, Kansas experienced telemedicine firsthand for a post-operative appointment. They traveled approximately 20 to 30 minutes to the Children's Kansas City telemedicine clinic located at Joplin-Freeman Health System instead of traveling two hours, one way to the Children's Mercy Hospital Adele Hall Campus.

"The appointment through telemedicine made it easier for us. I farm for a living, and I've always got work to do and I'm able to be back at work now. My son has a basketball game tonight and if we would have traveled to Kansas City for a 10 a.m. appointment, we would have been gone all day," Roger said. "He probably wouldn't get to play in the game tonight because he wasn't at school."

The appointment was carried out on behalf of Dr. Shah's colleague, Charles L. Snyder, MD, Section Chief of General and Thoracic Surgery, who performed Luke's surgery. Dr. Shah, located in his office in Kansas City, was assisted by Meagan Dorton MSN, RN-CPN Telemedicine Training and Clinical Coordinator, who was located in the Joplin exam room with the patient. Using the In Touch Health audio and video program that Dr. Shah controlled from Kansas City, Luke was examined.

"It was professional. It was neat that he was able to control everything from the other side. He was able to listen to his heartbeat. He was able to check the incision, too, and determine if it was healing properly," Roger said. "Basically he could do it all. I don't think it made any difference from an in-person appointment."

Dr. Shah explained that certain pediatric subspecialties are not available in the Joplin or Wichita regions like they are in Kansas City, so the telemedicine program increases the convenience and brings services closer to home for patients with time and money being the main factors. Some patients are even examined from their own homes.

"It doesn't diminish the quality," Dr. Shah said. "The tele-facilitators, like Meagan, do an excellent job performing the physical exam under supervision and direction by the doctors."

At the end of Luke's appointment, Dr. Shah reviewed the pathology report from surgery and determined that he has no concerns, and Luke will not need additional follow up appointments.

"The whole experience today was like Dr. Shah was in the room. It's a basic visit and when he checked on Luke, everything was good," Roger said. "There's definitely time saved along with fuel and money."