NCATS Funds Network to Improve the Use of Telehealth in Children’s Health Care
With 60 million people living in rural areas across the United States, telehealth use is booming. This critical tool uses telecommunication and digital technologies to address the needs of underserved populations through long-distance health care and education. The vast growth and rapid evolution of telehealth is opening new avenues for the health care of children across the country, but few comprehensive studies exist to assess its impact on the quality of pediatric health care. Rigorous research is needed to evaluate current pediatric telehealth services and identify best practices.
To create a network to develop, test and broadly disseminate an evidence-based pediatric telehealth research model, NCATS recently awarded $3.6 million to a team of researchers in the Supporting Pediatric Research on Outcomes and Utilization of Telehealth (SPROUT) Collaborative, a group of institutions and pediatric providers operating within the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“The vast reach of the CTSA Program and its innovative, collaborative model make it uniquely positioned to address several barriers to the successful integration of telehealth into current pediatric practices,” said Dr. Michael G. Kurilla, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Clinical Innovation at NCATS. “Through this initiative, we are bringing the considerable resources and expertise of the network to bear to improve the health of the nation’s children.
The main objectives of the SPROUT–CTSA Collaborative Telehealth Research Network are to:
- Identify best practices for implementation of pediatric telehealth
- Determine impact of telehealth on healthcare quality
- Establish network to conduct collaborative research on pediatric telehealth
The ultimate goal is to establish an infrastructure that removes barriers to efficient telehealth research across large geographic areas and educates providers about the best ways to deliver high-quality care to children when they need it, no matter where they live.
NCATS is funding the network through a Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program Collaborative Innovation Award (CCIA). CCIAs foster research collaboration across multiple institutions to develop, demonstrate and disseminate innovative approaches to overcoming translational science roadblocks.
Principle Investigator S. David McSwain, M.D. from MUSC demonstrates the use of tracheostomy and long-term ventilation on patient Xavier. (Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC))