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Using Telemedicine for Concussion Management

Concussions among youth and professional athletes continue to be a popular trending topic, with legislature like The Lystedt Law passing, and class-action lawsuits against the NFL. In 2009, Washington became the first state to require concussion safety for youths who suffer a concussion while in public. One solution to improving treatment is using telemedicine right from the sidelines of a game. The with youth football following at a close second. This makes the fall season a trying time for athletic trainers who need to quickly diagnose and treat concussion symptoms.  Athletic trainers now can use telemedicine to liaise with doctors and nurse practitioners to more accurately detect a concussion, right from the sideline. BBC Research indicates the global telehome and telehospital market could grow to $55.1 billion by 2021, making telemedicine one of the fastest growing segments in healthcare. Doctors and nurse practitioners, like Cydne Marckmann, have dedicated their time to studying how telemedicine can assist athletic trainers in diagnosing and managing concussions in student athletes, especially in those areas where specialty treatment isn’t readily accessible. “Unfortunately, many athletic trainers do not have medical providers experienced in concussion management available to help guide them or to refer them for backup assistance, [and] specialty care may be hours away. Telemedicine is one potential solution for this problem,” says Marckmann, practicing nurse practitioner at Spine Institute Northwest, Sports Medicine Division, in Tacoma, Washington. “There are currently no real-time interactive concussion management resources readily available,” and Marckmann is working to change that and recently concluded a pilot study with promising results. Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). It’s estimated to be the cause of 2.8 million yearly emergency room visits, costing approximately $76.5 billion per year, according to the CDC. By creating a digitally-connected clinical network, Marckmann was not only able to reduce the diagnosis time, but also reduced emergency room visits, in-office follow-ups and overall costs for her patients. “The goal was to get real-time consultation so that those parents, trainers, and students didn’t have to travel that distance. They could access the specialist in real time,” says Marckmann. One unexpected takeaway Marckmann saw through telemedicine concussion treatment was the influx of single-parent children she treated, regardless of their distance from her physical practice. “For them to take off a half day or a day of work to take their athlete into the clinic to be seen meant that the family lost four hours of very valuable wages. It’s something that really helped them.” HIPAAbridge, Everbridge’s HIPPA-secure messaging platform, played an integral role in completing this study. “Connectivity and software is really critical, [which is] one of the reasons I love using HIPPAbridge. It is so accessible on different platforms and so easy to use. We work across everything from issues around safety and security over to clinical solutions or clinical programs,” Marckmann states. To hear Cydne Marckmann speak at length on her process and conclusions, listen to our free on-demand webinar,  We invite you demo our clinical capabilities in our test site Everbridge General Hospital, where we can show you how the pilot study was conducted and other clinical applications available to medical teams.  HIPAAbridge is part of the CareConverge clinical communications platform at Everbridge.