New Telemedicine Center Serves Indigent Los Angeles Children
On Dec. 1, officials opened Los Angeles County, Calif.'s first pediatric telemedicine center, a clinic that will care for low-income patients with the help of video cameras and computers, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Mary Henry Telemedicine Center, which is located in South-Central Los Angeles, will be staffed by a physician's assistant or resident medical student who will perform initial examinations. Children in need of immediate care will be transported by shuttle to nearby Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center. Patients who need to consult a specialist, however, can have their injuries or conditions transmitted to a doctor in another part of town via a video camera hooked up to a computer. The assistant can also provide commentary on the patient's condition. Dr. Charles Flowers, an eye surgeon and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine, said, "Instead of taking the bus, patients can walk down the block to the clinic. Instead of a patient coming to me, I can come to the patient." Doctors believe that asthma, lead poisoning and nutritional deficiencies will be the most common problems seen at the clinic. Xylina Bean of the Department of Pediatrics at King/Drew Medical Center said that she hopes to offer immunizations at the center. Officials speculate that "poor" neighborhoods with few doctors will benefit from the new technology because it will reduce the time spent by patients and their parents in waiting rooms.
Looking to the Future