Welcoming a new life into the world is a beautiful moment. For an expectant mother, the medical field has greatly evolved to provide ease in the birthing process. However, a benefactor of St. Louis Children’s Hospital recognized a critical, unmet healthcare need: specialty prenatal care for rural women in high-risk pregnancies. Through support from St. Louis Children’s Hospital and BJC Healthcare, Jeanne Desmond, an SIUE master’s in healthcare informatics alumna, was able to complete a telemedicine initiative to aid this underserved population in Illinois and Missouri.
A collaboration of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, BJC Health Care and Poplar Bluffs Regional Medical Center, Desmond’s program transfers ultrasound images from an ultrasound device into secured cloud storage. Through this capability, medical professionals have real-time access to ultrasound information, allowing sonographers and physicians to provide immediate maternal-fetal specialty consultations with expectant mothers via teleconference.
Originally released at Poplar Bluffs Regional Medical Center, Desmond’s program has since been accepted by facilities in Maryville, Ill., Mount Vernon, Ill., and Southern Illinois Health in Carbondale.
“Our first day live was remarkable,” Desmond said. “When a patient’s studies arrived, the sonographer and the doctor looked concerned. They immediately ordered the mother of twins be sent for labor and delivery monitoring, detecting that one of the babies was at grave risk. An emergency delivery team was assembled and sent to location by helicopter, later airlifting the baby in distress to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Without this program, the outcome would have been quite different for this mother and her twins.”