Telemedicine in the OB Practice

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by Stacey Johnson, APRN

Telemedicine can be a beneficial tool for both a pregnant woman and her health care provider. Access to appropriate healthcare is a key to better perinatal outcomes for mom and baby. The more convenient it is to obtain care, the more likely the patient is to receive the appropriate prenatal care during her pregnancy. Throughout the state of Arkansas, there are a number of telemedicine sites where a consult with a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist can be completed. There are ultrasound clinics throughout the state that allow the patient to receive a targeted ultrasound and evaluation with a MFM. There are also numerous sites that allow for consultation with a MFM that allows the MFM to address high risk conditions and give the local healthcare provider recommendations for the pregnancy. We also have access to genetic counselors via our telemedicine network. There is also a telemedicine clinic that is dedicated to diabetes during pregnancy. This clinic can provide patients with education and nutritional instructions, as well as, medication management throughout the pregnancy.

By having these various telemedicine sites all over the state it allows high risk patients access to MFM consults throughout their pregnancy that is convenient to where they live. By receiving these consults at the appropriate interval and initiating the recommendations early in pregnancy this can decease adverse outcomes. For instance, a mom with a history of preterm delivery can have a consult with a MFM via telemedicine to determine the likelihood of having another preterm delivery. The MFM can then recommend weekly medication that can reduce the chance of preterm delivery. The patient can also be scheduled for serial ultrasounds to evaluate her cervical length with the MFM at a local telemedicine ultrasound site. All of this can be initiated and completed without the patient needing to come to Little Rock for a clinic visit.  By having telemedicine sites in their local community, the patient will save time and money by not having to travel to Little Rock for an appointment. For many patients travel is a huge barrier with receiving appropriate prenatal care and by having telemedicine clinics this can reduce that barrier.  And thus improve outcomes for both the patient and her baby.

For more information on the ANGELS program, visit https://angels.uams.edu/