Shriners tests pediatric telemedicine program through video chats with Santa

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Visitors to Salt Lake City-based Shriners Hospitals for Children had the opportunity Tuesday to help test the system's new telemedicine program, but rather than interfacing with a physician, Santa Claus was on the other end, according to KSL.com.

Along with hospitals in Galveston, Texas and Philadelphia, Shriners selected their Salt Lake City location for test runs of a pilot telehealth program that will go live in 2016. A representative of Dimensions Data, who partnered with Shriners on the program testing, said it will be a "spoke-and-wheel" system in which the telehealth network centers around a primary hospital and links up to equipment at other participating locations, according to the KSL.com report.

Shriners hopes to test the viability of using telemedicine for its neuromusculoskeletal and orthopedics specialists, Kevin Martin, hospital administrator, told KSL.com. He hopes the system's efforts will demonstrate that telemedicine is applicable in disciplines like orthopedics, as it makes a small number of highly specialized clinicians accessible to larger groups of patients.

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