Telemedicine use among burn centers in the United States: a survey.

J Burn Care Res. 2012 Jan;33(1):157-62. Holt B, Faraklas I, Theurer L, Cochran A, Saffle JR. From the Burn-Trauma Center, University of Utah Health Science Center, Salt Lake City.

Telemedicine has been increasingly used in a host of settings for over 20 years. Burns are well suited for evaluation by either synchronous ("interactive") video or asynchronous digital ("store and forward") imagery, but little information is available about telemedicine use in burn care. The authors surveyed U.S. burn center directors to assess their current use of, and interest in, telemedicine in clinical burn treatment. With Institutional Review Board approval, a web-based survey (surveymonkey.com) was created and sent to directors of 126 burn centers in the United States. Questions measured the use of telemedicine by burn centers and burn directors' attitudes toward telemedicine. Surveys were returned from 50 centers (40%). Directors of 42 units (84%) reported using telemedicine; 37 use it routinely. Interactive video communication was used by 18 centers, store and forward by 38 centers, and remote access to patient data by home computer or personal digital assistant in 41 centers. Uses included remote evaluation of acute burns for consultation, for help in determining the need for transfer, or for remote clinic follow-up. Users identified some problems with current telemedicine usage, including Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act/compliance, licensure, and billing/collection issues. Importantly, 40 respondents (80%) indicated that they would like programming on telemedicine to be available at American Burn Association's annual meetings. Use of telemedicine is fairly widespread among U.S. burn centers, with volume and type of usage varying widely. Significant interest in learning more about telemedicine suggests strongly that telemedicine should be included in the annual program at the American Burn Association

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