Boston Medical Center to increase access to pediatric epilepsy care via telemedicine

Boston Medical Center plans to use a three-year Health Resources and Services Administration grant to expand access to epilepsy care via telemedicine. The medical center's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and pediatric neurology section will lead the Telehealth Epilepsy Care Collaborative, a program that aims to reach at least 1,000 children with epilepsy.

The $1.2 million grant will allow the medical center to work with six community health centers. Boston Medical Center will help train physicians at the community center and provide them a highly sensitive seizure screen platform, developed in partnership with ACT.md. Community health centers physicians who detect signs of epilepsy during the initial screening can refer patients to BMC physicians, who will conduct a second screening via a secure web-based system.

BMC will also work with the patients' community health center and primary care teams to design, implement and monitor mhealth-based care and seizure action plans. The telemedicine efforts will help patients and their families avoid potentially long trips to a specialty center.

"It's integral that we diagnose epilepsy early in children, as it's often accompanied by developmental, cognitive and behavioral comorbidities that affect the developing brain and can result in life-long disability," said Laurie Douglass, MD, director of pediatric epilepsy at BMC and principal investigator of the grant.

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