Pediatric Telemedicine

Telemedicine uses technology to link one hospital with specialists in another hospital. Sacred Heart has a special telemedicine relationship with Doernbecher Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in Portland.

Using the latest audio, video and telecommunications equipment, staff in Sacred Heart’s Pediatrics and Emergency departments can immediately consult with specialists at Doernbecher on difficult cases, such as pediatric traumas or serious illnesses. The video equipment used allows specialists in Portland to closely examine patients at Sacred Heart, zooming in clearly on such details as a rash on the skin. When necessary, children are transported from Sacred Heart to Doernbecher for the higher level of care available in the PICU.

Telemedicine allows staff at Sacred Heart to consult with pediatric intensivists (specialists in intensive care) in Portland before making a decision to send a child to Doernbecher. As a result, nearly one-third of the patients who would otherwise have been transported have been able to stay at Sacred Heart for their care.

Telemedicine offers additional benefits to pediatric patients:

  • For children who remain at Sacred Heart for their care, telemedicine allows staff here to continue to consult with PICU specialists, helping them provide the child with the highest level of care.
  • For children who are transported to Portland, telemedicine helps Sacred Heart’s staff stabilize the patient before transport. Telemedicine also introduces parents to the PICU before they arrive. Parents of transported children have said that it felt familiar and that they felt comforted knowing what the PICU looked like and meeting some of the staff in advance.

Telemedicine is also used to link specialists at Sacred Heart at RiverBend with departments at Sacred Heart, University District.

A Parent's Perspective on Pediatric Telemedicine

Stacie Olson talks about the Pediatric telemedicine experience she had with her baby, Zachary.