A Retrospective Study of the Influence of Telemedicine in the Management of Pediatric Facial Lacerations


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Abstract

A study was carried out to determine the influence of telemedicine on management of facial lacerations in children. Proforma was designed, and information was collected retrospectively over a 4-month period. Of the 2524 telemedicine referrals, 27% (693/2524) were pediatric referrals. One hundred forty-five of these were children with facial lacerations, of which only 98 were admitted for possible surgical management. During the same period, a further 45 children were admitted to the pediatric ward through verbal referral. The average age of the children admitted was 4.85 years and male-to-female ratio was 2:1. Lacerations to the lips (42%) were the most common site of injury, and the majority sustained the injury as a result of a mechanical fall (42%). Among the telemedicine group, 86% had surgery, whereas in the nontelemedicine group it was 82%. On average, 2 to 3 photographs accompanied the referrals, and none of the patients who were treated conservatively by the referring centers following telemedicine referral and discussion with Queen Victoria Hospital required a re-referral. The results from this study confirm that clinical findings together with images from telemedicine provide adequate information to make clinical decisions in children with facial lacerations.

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