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LIJ Forest Hills Hospital to implement telehealth pilot program for burn patients

Jun. 30, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed

Forest Hills Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Hospital is implementing teleburn, a service that uses telehealth technology to allow emergency medicine doctors to conduct virtual consults with specialists at Staten Island University Hospital’s Regional Burn Center

LIJ Forest Hills is the first Northwell hospital to use teleburnIn the coming weeks, the high-tech burn triage will also be rolled out to Long Island Jewish Valley Stream and Long Island Medical Center to help assess whether burn patients can be treated onsite or need to be transported via ambulance or helicopter to the burn center.

Similar to Northwell’s telestroke and telepsych services, this state-of-the-art video teleconferencing technology brings specialized care to the bedsides of burn patients at remote emergency departments. Experts at the burn center have access to on demand patient data and can remotely maneuver the teleburn camera to zoom in on a patient to better assess a wound in real-time.

“With this technology, we can have a quick evaluation by a physician who is miles away and who can help us make decisions about care and whether we need to transfer a patient to that site,” said Christopher Calandrella, DO, chair of emergency medicine at LIJ Forest Hills.

Criteria for deciding whether to transport a burn patient from another hospital to the burn center involves several factors, such as the size and depth of the burn, whether the patient has a smoke inhalation injury and whether the initial hospital has the resources to treat the patient’s injuries. Generally, second-degree burns involving at least 15% of the body, and third- degree – the most severe — burns encompassing at least 5% of the body would necessitate transport. 

“With this technology we can tell pretty quickly the different depths of burns, how large the burns are and what the treatments should be.” said Michael Cooper, MD, director of the burn center. “This information is vital to provide the most accurate assessment of a burn injury which can lead to the best outcome for the patient.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50,000 burn injuries require hospitalization each year in the United States.

Opened in 1988, SIUH’s 10-bed intensive care burn center treats upwards of 400 patients a year, ranging in age from neonatal to seniors. The unit also performs more than 800 burn- and wound-related surgeries annually. It is the only such specialized unit in the Northwell Health system. 

With the addition of Sky Health, the center has the ability to helicopter in patients from around the New York City metropolitan area.

“We are very excited to be able to connect our burn experts to our local community hospitals via telemedicine. This will ensure that patients who present at non-burn hospitals will have direct access to our expert specialists,” said Jonathan Berkowitz, MD, medical director of the Center for Emergency Medical Services at Northwell Health. “This is the same infrastructure that was recently used to bring a child from the Mahdia school fire in Guyana to Northwell.” 

Northwell’s emergency medical team will take transfers from anywhere in the downstate region and beyond, via the Centralized Transfer Center (866-694-2337) based in Long Island.

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