The Lopez Family Foundation is excited to announce the launch of our first telemedicine center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the San Jorge Children's Hospital, and a second link coming shortly at the University Pediatric Hospital at the Centro Medico. Health care personnel in Puerto Rico helped our partners at Children's Hospital Los Angeles identify two crucial areas of need regarding pediatric medical treatment on the island: genetic disease, and pediatric radiology.
The two hospitals face significant challenges in providing quality medical care for children suffering from serious illnesses. These children either cannot pay for their care, or are limited in terms of their access to specialty care due to insurance limitations. These are areas on which the Lopez Family Foundation is focused and is passionate about making a difference. Through the power of telemedicine, the Foundation can bring the most up-to-date treatments to the most seriously-ill of patients, and address the need for advance medical training for local physicians through regular videoconferencing and online teaching sessions. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with both the Hospital San Jorge and the University Pediatric Hospital to offer Tele-Radiology and Tele-Genetic services.
Puerto Rico suffers from a dearth of pediatric radiologists on the island, which in some instances can mean that interpretations of infant and child diagnostic MRI or CT studies are delayed. In turn, this can lead to potential misdiagnosis or inappropriate care. At a minimum, it can leave local Radiologists without 100% confidence in their diagnosis. The heartbreaking possibility of more serious outcomes for the littlest patients because of this lack of resource was one that our partners at CHLA, through the support of the Lopez Family Foundation, were eager to help solve. The CHLA team has years of experience in advance pediatric radiology, and through the creation of a telemedicine center in San Juan, they were confident they could deploy these services quickly and with great success.
For the Hospital San Jorge, the Foundation will provide:
With relatively few medical centers on the island of Puerto Rico that serve the “Reforma” or Medicaid (State
insurance) population, and a geography that isolates some of its residents, large numbers of children do not have
easy access to medical specialists. Genetic conditions afflict many of these children, and with only one full-time
Pediatric Geneticist in Puerto Rico who serves the Reforma community, wait times for genetic consultations can take
up to 1-2 years for new appointments. Many of these patients also require Genetics laboratory tests, which can take
weeks to return, and may not be covered by their insurance.
For the University Pediatric Hospital, the Foundation, in partnership with Samsung, provided the equipment and
resources to make the following programs possible:
A live telemedicine "clinic," for infant and child patients and their families in Puerto Rico, conducted by physicians from the Children's Hospital Los Angeles. The CHLA genetics team will be able to examine, diagnose, and help treat patients that they will see live, on-camera from Puerto Rico via the telemedicine link. Follow-up visits with CHLA Geneticists will be scheduled as needed via the telemedicine network.
Most patients that come to the clinic will be outpatients, but for those who are not, tele-genetics workstation is on a mobile cart that can be wheeled up to the bedside, so that tests may be done without the patient having to leave their bed.
The Lopez Family Foundation will also cover the costs of specific laboratory tests for patients - tests and exams that the Reforma insurance may not cover (or for children who lack insurance) and which are deemed critical for the well-being of the child.
As part of both programs, CHLA will be able to provide specialty training for doctors and medical personnel in Puerto Rico to increase their ability to provide the highest level, most up-to-date specialty care, without having to travel to the States to acquire the additional training in their field. This program allows us to realize yet another of the Lopez Family Foundation's goals: being able to raise the level of care in a that can be offered locally in a remote location, through the training and expertise of top specialists at one of the United States' best children's hospitals.
Distance Education for Radiology and Genetics
CHLA Radiologists and other specialists will deliver case discussions and lectures via live videoconference several times monthly to medical residents and staff in San Juan.
Videoconference sessions are recorded, and are being archived for future download purposes by all participating clinicians in the Lopez Family Telemedicine Program.
When future countries are launched for the Lopez Family Telemedicine Program, the technology will enable those countries to initiate medical conferences themselves.
We are honored by the opportunity to create these partnerships, and for the potential to change health outcomes for the better for newborns and children. We are excited to begin providing these vital services to begin to impact those most in need in Puerto Rico.