TELEMENTORING NETWORK IN MARYLAND
Traditionally, healthcare has required in-person exchanges between patients and healthcare providers. However, technology is changing how and where care is delivered, and barriers that once prevented patients from receiving care remotely can be removed using telecommunications tools.
Telehealth includes a wide variety of remote health care services. All videoconferencing, transmission of still images, patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education and call centers are considered telehealth.
Telemedicine is defined as the use of electronic communications and information technologies to provide medical care (diagnostic and treatment-related services), when the providers and individual patients are at different locations.1,2
Telementoring is the use of telecommunication and electronic information processing technologies to transfer specialist clinical knowledge and experience to other providers.3
DEVELOPING A PERINATAL TELEMEDICINE &
TELEMENTORING NETWORK IN MARYLAND
Obstetric care is a complex medical undertaking in the United States, with racial, ethnic and nativity disparities and geographic challenges exacerbating inequitable access to services. In Maryland, specialty maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) services are concentrated in Baltimore and Annapolis, drastically limiting access to such services for women residing in peri-urban and rural areas. The shift to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic provides both a need and an opportunity to rapidly improve access to obstetric care in Maryland using telemedicine and telementoring services. MDMOM aims to design and implement a statewide perinatal telemedicine and telemonitoring network to:
• Connect hospital-based obstetric providers throughout Maryland with MFM specialists at Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland Medical System for peer-to-peer consultation and telementoring
• Increase access of high-risk pregnant and postpartum patients to MFM specialists at Johns Hopkins University and University of Maryland Medical System via home telemedicine consults
RESULTS FROM A STATEWIDE PERINATAL TELEMEDICINE NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Between July and September 2020, the MDMOM Program conducted a qualitative assessment of needs for and capacity to provide perinatal telehealth services in Level I and II birthing hospitals in Maryland. The overarching goal of this assessment was to inform the design and implementation of the statewide perinatal telemedicine network in Maryland.
Key finding from this assessment are available here and summarized briefly below:
Less than half of the Level I & II birthing hospitals in the state currently offer obstetric services to high-risk patients through telemedicine. Instead, they refer patients to Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland Medical System, or Level III hospitals within their health system for specialty care.
The majority of Level I & II birthing hospitals indicated interest in participating in a statewide perinatal telemedicine network.
Perceived benefits of the telemedicine network included improved access to services, convenience, cost-savings.
CHECK OUR RESOURCE LIBRARY FOR RELATED ARTICLES AND REPORTS
References & Key Resources
- 1. Breen GM & Matusitz J. An evolutionary examination of telemedicine: a health and computer-mediated communication perspective. Soc Work Public Health 2010;25:59-71.
- 2. American Telemedicine Association. Telemedicine Nomenclature. 2016
- 3. Schlachta CM, Nguyen NT, Ponsky T, et al. Project 6 Summit: SAGES telementoring initiative. Surg Endosc. 2016;30:3665-72.
- MDMOM | Baltimore, MD
- Maryland Maternal Health Innovation Program
- © 2021 All rights reserved
- Program Areas
- Hospital Initiative
- Maternal Morbidity Surveillance
- Telemedicine Network
- Warning Signs Education