In Queensland, the majority of rural hospitals and some regional hospitals lack paediatricians or paediatric sub-specialists. Many specialist referrals result in a transfer to a tertiary paediatric hospital in Brisbane – up to 3000 km away. Travel is difficult, time-consuming and expensive, especially from rural and remote areas in Queensland. The telepaediatric service managed by the Centre for Online Health (COH) at the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) in Brisbane, delivers general and specialist paediatric support directly into selected neonatal and paediatric wards in a convenient and child-friendly manner. We conducted a review of telepaediatric service records to determine which clinical and educational services had been delivered through the mobile videoconference systems. Telepaediatric service activity records for all consultations conducted between January 2005 and July 2010 were summarised.Since 2005, seven mobile telepaediatric systems have been established in selected regional hospitals throughout Queensland. For some hospitals, the service was used mainly for consultations with specialists based at the RCH or at The Townsville Hospital (TTH) in north Queensland. During a 67 month period, a total of 966 consultations were conducted during 465 videoconference sessions, totaling about 228 hours of activity. In addition, 39 education sessions were delivered to regional staff through the mobile robot systems by specialists based at the RCH in Brisbane. The telepaediatric robots have proven useful for general paediatric support for hospitals without a local paediatrician; sub-specialist paediatric support and professional education and support for regional clinicians. Our service model provided a streamlined method of delivering specialist health services to children and families living in rural and remote regions of Queensland.
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