Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in partnership with the Lopez Family Foundation, launched the Lopez Family Foundation International Telemedicine Program in September 2010. The program provides specialized healthcare services to approach the needs of children globally—with an initial focus in Latin America—through innovative videoconferencing technology. The first collaborations between Children’s Hospital and the Lopez Family Foundation have focused on establishing a telemedicine presence in Puerto Rico and Panama. Together, we look to expand the telemedicine network to areas in need around the globe.
Children’s Hospital and the Lopez Family Foundation are working with two hospitals in Puerto Rico – the University Pediatric Hospital Dr. Antonio Ortiz and San Jorge Children’s Hospital – located in the capital city of San Juan. Through our close collaboration with these hospitals, Genetics and Radiology emerged as two areas where our expert teams could have the greatest impact on the health of seriously ill children who are covered by Reforma, the Medicaid program in Puerto Rico.
In order to meet the needs of children on the island, we have developed tele-genetics and tele-radiology programs where Children’s Hospital physicians use real time or store and forward telemedicine technology to diagnose medical conditions, speak with patients and families when needed, and participate in collaborative case discussions with local clinicians. Our doctors also use the same infrastructure for our tele-education program to collaborate on case conferences, training sessions and broadcast lectures for pediatric and radiology residents at the two hospitals. Our educational lectures and conferences are recorded, archived, and readily accessible to our program partners on our health video library website.
In addition, we have partnered with local laboratories on the island to perform genetic testing for all of our tele-genetics patients as well as some genetics patients referred from the University Pediatric Hospital. The results of the genetic testing allow our physicians to confirm diagnoses and provide treatment recommendation to the patient and family.
In June 2012, Children's Hospital and the Lopez Family Foundation launched a second telemedicine program in Panama. Together, we are working with three major pediatric centers (Hospital Del Nino and Specialty Children’s Hospital in Panama City and Hospital Obaldia in David), one rural hospital (Hospital San Felix in Chiriqui), and three rural clinics (Cerro Iglesias, Hato Chami, and Hato Juli in Comarca Ngabe-Bugle) to achieve the following goals:
Children’s Hospital and the Lopez Family Foundation are collaborating to launch two new projects in Panama – the OB/Tele-ultrasound Project and the Residents Exchange Project. The OB/Tele-ultrasound Project will aim to provide routine ultrasound screening services to pregnant women from the remote region of Panama called Comarca Ngabe-Bugle. The primary goals of the project are to reduce infant mortality rate and maternal morbidity by providing routine ultrasound services to detect potential high-risk pregnancies and establish a referral relationship to more sophisticated obstetrical services in the region. On the other hand, the Residents Exchange Project will allow pediatric residents from Panama to conduct a clinical observership at Children’s Hospital. The goals of this project are to enhance the residents’ knowledge and competency in pediatric medicine for practical application in their home country and to ultimately improve the quality of pediatric healthcare in Panama. Additionally, the residents will be able to observe the delivery of healthcare in a quaternary/tertiary pediatric academic medical center and gain exposure to Children’s Hospital’s systems and applications. The OB/Tele-ultrasound project is scheduled to start in fall 2014 whereas the Residents Exchange Project will commence in early 2015.