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Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Doctors Now Available to DeKalb and Kendall County Residents through Northwestern Medicine

Expansion of telemedicine services brings high-quality care to area residents

Parents in DeKalb and Kendall counties now have access to doctors at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital within minutes thanks to a telemedicine expansion at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb and Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital in Sandwich.

Pediatricians at the two local hospitals can schedule virtual consults with Lurie Children’s neonatologists who are at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Ill. Additionally, physicians in the Kishwaukee and Valley West emergency departments will soon be able to connect with Lurie Children’s pediatric emergency medicine physicians located at Lurie Children’s Hospital in downtown Chicago. Telemedicine for the emergency department will be available in the coming months.

The expansion of telemedicine services enables pediatric patients to receive specialized care within their community. Both the patient and parents can interact with the physician during the telemedicine consult, and specialty care follow-up appointments can be scheduled without requiring an in-person visit. Previously, some patients would have to be transferred to Central DuPage Hospital or Lurie Children’s in Chicago for consultations.

“Our pediatricians in the nursery and our Emergency Room physicians will now have world-renowned experts immediately available for those unique circumstances which we see occasionally, but Lurie Children’s sees frequently,” said Jay Anderson, president, Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee and Valley West Hospital. “Additionally, parents with children who are already Lurie Children’s patients will know that our emergency department can swiftly contact Lurie Children’s to understand their child’s unique needs.”

The partnership also provides a unified medical record for each patient, allowing him or her to receive continuous treatment between a primary physician and Lurie Children’s specialists. The Lurie Children’s at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital program currently provides access to over 150 Lurie Children’s physicians in 35 specialties.

“This collaboration brings immediate access to care from pediatric specialists of a nationally recognized children’s hospital without the patient or families leaving their regional hospital,” said Jeffrey Loughead, MD, medical director of NICU and Pediatrics at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital. “This access means patients with more complex pediatric problems can receive specialty care and advice without the need to transfer or waiting for follow up appointments.”

One patient family has already benefitted from a neonatology telehealth consult. Jennifer Llamas, a DeKalb resident, recently had a Cesarean section at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital. Initially, her newborn son Arthas did well, but then had some irregularities in his heart rate. Thanks to a virtual consult with a Lurie Children’s neonatologist, baby Arthas didn’t need to be transferred.

“We were terrified. I wasn’t sure if he’d be moved to another place,” Llamas said. “We were happy he didn’t have to go anywhere and glad to have the consult get him on the right track.”

Mayuri Morker, MD, was the pediatrician on Arthas’ case. When the baby’s heart rate wasn’t improving, she decided to consult with the Lurie Children’s at Central DuPage Hospital neonatology group.

“It was reassuring that the neonatologist can actually see the baby,” Dr. Morker said. “He was able to look at the baby through video and see the vitals in real time to appreciate exactly what the concern was.”

Since Northwestern Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital have access to the patient records, the physician was able to review all of the maternal-fetal medicine and delivery notes even before assessing the patient.

“I think as parents, to know that a specialized doctor has reviewed the case and is giving treatment plans is more comforting,” Dr. Morker said.

Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital is a Level II nursery. The NICU at Lurie Children’s at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital is a Level III referral center and offers state-of-the-art technology and treatments, including minimally invasive ventilating techniques, total body cooling for perinatal asphyxia events and neonatal surgery.

Lurie Children’s Kenneth & Anne Griffin Emergency Care Center is the premier pediatric trauma center in the Chicago area, providing acute care for ill and injured children, with more than 60,000 patient visits each year. The team includes the expertise of 10 board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialists and six fellows.