Implementation of a Pediatric Telemedicine and Medication Delivery Service in a Resource-limited Setting: A Pilot Study for Clinical Safety and Feasibility

J Pediatr. 2022 Dec 14;S0022-3476(22)01121-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2022.12.005. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Determine the clinical safety and feasibility of implementing a telemedicine and medication delivery service (TMDS) to address gaps in nighttime access to health care for children in low-resource settings.

Study design: We implemented a TMDS called 'MotoMeds' in Haiti as a prospective cohort study. A parent/guardian of a sick child ≤ 10 years contacted the call center (6 PM-5 AM). A nurse provider used decision support tools to triage cases (mild, moderate, or severe). Severe cases were referred to emergency care. For nonsevere cases, providers gathered clinical findings to generate an assessment and plan. For cases within the delivery zone, a provider and driver were dispatched and the provider performed a paired in-person exam as a reference standard for the virtual call center exam. Families received a follow-up call at 10 days. Data were analyzed for clinical safety and feasibility.

Results: A total of 391 cases were enrolled from September 9, 2019, to January 19, 2021. Most cases were nonsevere (92%; 361); household visits were completed for 89% (347) of these cases. Among the 30 severe cases, 67% (20) sought referred care. Among all cases, respiratory problems were the most common complaint (63%; 246). At 10 days, 95% (329) of parents reported their child had "improved" or "recovered". Overall, 99% (344) rated the TMDS as "good" or "great". The median phone consultation time was 20 minutes, time to household arrival was 73 minutes, and total case time was 114 minutes.

Conclusion: The TMDS was a feasible health care delivery model. Although many cases were likely self-limiting, the TMDS was associated with high rates of reported improvement in clinical status at 10 days.

Trial registration: NCT03943654.

Keywords: Haiti; LMIC; TMDS; global health; health care access; health equity; medication delivery; nighttime; pediatrics; telemedicine.

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