As telehealth services have been gaining popularity with the growth of technology, many health systems have begun investing in their own programs to provide patients better access to care. One Pennsylvania system that has embraced the benefits of virtual health is the Lehigh Valley Health Network, with programs ranging from TeleInfectious Disease, TeleInterpreter services, TeleNeuroSciences, and TeleStroke to TeleToxicology, TeleTrauma, TeleWound, and TeleBurn.
More than 100 sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware participate in LVHN’s TeleBurn program, which provides emergency rooms with the expertise of a burn specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Participating emergency rooms and physician offices have installed the TeleBurn web app, which is used to upload photos of patients’ burns. LVHN physicians or advanced practice clinicians with burn expertise review the photos to determine whether patients can receive the right care at a local emergency room or must go to LVHN’s Regional Burn Center.
Patrick Pagella, a nurse practitioner in the burn center, said, “One of the major reasons TeleBurn was started was to eliminate over-triage, which are those patients that get sent to burn centers that don’t need to be.”
The TeleBurn program has transformed care by reducing costs, improving patient safety, enhancing the quality of care provided, and increasing access to care.
“This is a unique opportunity to take quality and cost-effectiveness, put them together, and do something that really affects patient outcome,” said Daniel Lozano, M.D., chief of the burn division.
TeleBurn can save patients an unnecessary trip and eliminate unnecessary medical costs using its secure imaging database. More than 4,700 patients have been assessed through the program since it launched in 2008. Using virtual technology, burn professionals can view injuries wherever they are. And because burn injuries are common but burn specialists are not, LVHN has found an effective and economical way to provide services to remote areas and neighboring states through TeleBurn.