We reviewed telehealth consultations for acute paediatric patients presenting at rural sites in the Mackay district in 2012. Patient data and outcomes were collected prospectively, and a survey of the referring clinicians was undertaken. Thirty four patient consultations were conducted via telehealth with 14 referring clinicians. Most of the referrals were for respiratory illnesses, including bronchiolitis. We received feedback surveys for 16 consultations (57% response rate). In 47% of the cases, the paediatric team felt that transfer was avoided by using teleconsultation. In 80% of consultations, the referring clinicians felt that video consultation was more effective than telephone alone. In 30% of cases, the referring clinicians felt that the patient would have been transferred to higher facility in the absence of the telehealth facility. Clinicians thought that almost all consultations had educational value and reduced their anxiety in dealing with acute paediatric problems. There were no adverse outcomes or delayed transfers of patients staying at their rural sites. We recommend that telehealth consultation occur for all enquiries about acute paediatric patients at rural sites, especially if transfer of the patient is being considered.
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