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UC Davis Children's Hospital Offers Access to Pediatric Subspecialty Care for Rural Newborns With PEANUT Program
Date:11/13/2013

(PRWEB) November 13, 2013

UC Davis Children’s Hospital has been awarded a three-year, approximately $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for the Advancement of Telehealth - Health Resources and Services Administration (OAT-HRSA) to expand its services for infants through the new Pediatric Emergency Assistance to Newborns Using Telehealth (PEANUT) Program.

The program will provide clinicians at rural hospitals round-the-clock access to neonatologists and other subspecialists through the use of UC Davis’ award-winning secure videoconferencing capabilities.

Four hospitals in California were selected to launch the PEANUT project because they are in rural counties serving health-professional shortage areas and medically underserved areas, said Madan Dharmar, assistant research professor in the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Telemedicine Program.

“Telemedicine has been an important part of UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s efforts to improve access to pediatric care for more than a decade,” said Dharmar, the principal investigator for the PEANUT Program. “Our goal is to extend essential subspecialist expertise to medically underserved areas, which should lead to higher quality and more cost-effective care.”

“Rural doctors and hospitals deliver great care. But they have limited access to pediatric subspecialists. Without subspecialty guidance, newborn infants may be undertreated, receive inappropriate therapies or face unnecessary transfers. By providing immediate access to neonatologists, and other pediatric experts, PEANUT will provide a safety net for rural clinicians and their patients,” Dharmar said.

For example, increasing access to pediatric cardiologists will help rural hospitals follow new guidelines for identifying infants with congenital heart disease, and also will help avoid unnecessary neonatal transfers if physicians rule out the condition
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