Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center recently released a study suggesting that telemedicine is a cost-effective alternative to more than one-fourth of all pediatric emergency department (ED) visits, HealthDay reports. Presented last week at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, the study includes data on 22,000 pediatric ED visits from 2006. The researchers ultimately determined that nearly 28 percent of pediatric visits involved issues that are almost always easily managed through telemedicine, such as sore throats and ear infections. Researchers classified other visits, meanwhile, as problems that are beyond the scope of telemedicine or those that could generally but not always be treated through telemedicine, such as asthma attacks. Based on targeted tests, the researchers found that families who were offered access to telemedicine for their children accessed care services 23 percent more than the those who were not, but logged 24 percent fewer ED visits, resulting in annual cost savings of roughly $14 per child. In light of the findings, the lead researcher suggests that increased use of telemedicine would have “not only freed up emergency resources to people who need them more, [but also] would have afforded smaller co-pays for parents and more timely, personalized care” (HealthDay/Washington Post, 5/9/08; University of Rochester Medical Center release, 5/6/08).