The University of Rochester School of Medicine will use telemedicine in inner-city daycare centers to address the challenging problem of infectious disease in the daycare setting. The project's goals are to reduce the time children are excluded from daycare because of illness; the conflict between parents, daycare providers, and employers regarding illness in children; the time parents miss work; and the frequency with which parents bring their children to physicians' offices or emergency departments. The telemedicine daycare project (TDC) will put high quality, real-time video and audio telemedicine units in three urban daycare centers. The units will be equipped with peripheral devices that provide examination tools basic to routine pediatric practice, such as an Ear, Nose, and Throat exam for infections and a stethoscope for heart, lung, and abdominal exams. Telemedicine consultations will be conducted by pediatricians from the Children's Hospital. The record of a consultation will then be faxed or emailed to the child's primary care physician. The daycare center will be provided with a Site Coordinator who will handle all the logistics, allowing clinicians to focus on clinical evaluations.
This project will pioneer the documented use of telemedicine for triage and management of acute illnesses in pre-school children. More than 60 percent of our nation's pre-school children attend daycare, and the higher incidence and greater severity of illness among children in daycare has been well documented. Inner-city children in daycare already have greater morbidity and hospitalization rates than their suburban counterparts, and their families have less social, material, and financial resources to address this problem. Inner-city parents often must jeopardize employment to deal with their ill children in the daycare setting. This project hopes to demonstrate that the use of telemedicine in inner-city daycare centers can help lessen the strain on families for whom daycare is often a critical element in their overall ability to improve their economic circumstances.
The partners in implementing the TDC Project will include three inner-city daycare centers, the University of Rochester's Department of Pediatrics and School of Nursing, the University of Rochester Medical Center, four inner-city health providers, a suburban pediatric practice, and the Monroe County Department of Social Services. Frontier Communications will donate DSL access to connect the daycare centers to the hospital.