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Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital Partners with Lurie Children’s for Pediatric Emergency Medicine Telemedicine Program

Telecommunication technology brings high-quality care to area residents

Pediatric emergency room patients in DeKalb and Kendall Counties will soon have access to doctors at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago within minutes thanks to a telemedicine expansion at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb and Northwestern Medicine Valley West Hospital in Sandwich.

Using a variety of telecommunication technologies, including real-time video conferencing, a local care team can now collaborate closely with Lurie Children’s specialists and subspecialists who are available to help assess children and adolescents, review diagnostic images and data, and provide an expert diagnosis or support for a treatment plan.

“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 expansion of telemedicine services enables pediatric patients to receive specialized care within their community and is scheduled to go live on Feb. 17. Both the patient and parents can interact with the physician during the telemedicine consult.

“We are excited to expand telehealth in the ED and connect patients and their parents to Lurie’s physicians without having to physically leave our department,” said Kristen Tindall, MSN, RN, CEN, manager of the emergency department at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital. “Parents are already deeply concerned for their ill child when they come to the ED, and we want to do whatever we can to reduce their stress and provide reassurance that they are receiving the highest quality of care.”

The partnership 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.

“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 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.”

The new partnership is supported in part by a federal telemedicine grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program.

The first telemedicine rollout to Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee and Valley West hospitals took place in October 2020 and enables pediatricians to immediately access virtual consults with Lurie Children’s neonatologists. The partnership continues to benefit care teams at the two hospitals, which makes the access to emergency telemedicine consults all the more exciting.

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. There are 27 pediatric specialists within the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Lurie Children’s who will be providing 24/7 coverage for Northwestern Medicine.