Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clinic to Use Web to Check Patients; Nemours and JEA Team Up for Pilot Monitoring Project

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clinic to Use Web to Check Patients; Nemours and JEA Team Up for Pilot Monitoring Project

Article excerpt

Byline: URVAKSH KARKARIA

Nemours Children's Clinic, along with JEA, is launching a pilot project that will remotely monitor sick children. The initiative received the 2006 Governor of Florida's Innovation Award Monday.

The more than $1 million project, partially funded through a $680,000 federal grant, will periodically collect measurements of children's lungs and other body systems. The data will be sent through a broadband connection over JEA's power lines, rather than conventional telephone and cable lines, to Nemours. The children's physicians can then access the data over the Internet from anywhere and at any time. JEA and Nemours will pick up the remaining cost of the project.

Remote clinical monitoring is convenient for parents and children -- the adults don't have to take time off work to take their child for what would be a routine medical visit, and the child doesn't miss school, said Francis Koster, vice president of innovation and special projects at Jacksonville-based Nemours.

Frequent monitoring can help detect medical problems before they become complex and expensive to treat, said Brian Klepper, president of the Center for Practical Health Reform.

Remote clinical monitoring "is inexpensive and it'll result in better health and lower cost," Klepper said. "This is one of the real wonderful uses of the Web."

Similar remote clinical monitoring programs in California have resulted in a 50 percent reduction in emergency room and hospitalizations costs, Koster said.

The local pilot program, which plans to enroll 60 children, will initially target asthma sufferers but could include those with diabetes, obesity and cystic fibrosis, Koster said. The voluntary program, which is open to non-Nemours patients and free for participants, could eventually be rolled out in other cities with Nemours clinics such as Orlando, Pensacola, Panama City and Wilmington, Del.

Every two weeks, participants will undergo tests at home or in school, to collect information such as weight and lung function. …

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