Virtual Care for Kids from Children’s Hospital

Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

Virtual Care for Kids from Children’s Hospital

It’s April 2020, and the terms, “social distancing,” “quarantine,” and “COVID-19” are ones we’re all too familiar with. Just a few months ago, no one could have predicted that our city, state, and nation would be on lockdown, and that most businesses would be shut down. Here at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, we know families are concerned about visiting the hospital and clinics during this uncertain time. However, we also know that the need for everyday healthcare hasn’t stopped, even though it feels like the rest of the world has.

With stay-at-home orders in place and state mandates to postpone elective and non-urgent procedures and visits in the healthcare setting, our daily operations at healthcare facilities across the country have drastically changed. But, just because we’re not able to see all patients in-person, that doesn’t mean we can’t be there for them.

In mid-March, we at Children’s Hospital were faced with this challenge: How can we provide continuity of care while minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19 for our patients, families, and team members?

Our solution was to expand our virtual care platform that allows pediatricians and specialists to see their patients without going into the hospital or clinic. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, with fear, uncertainty, and anxiety running high, virtual care allows families to continue to seek care from their own trusted providers.

Like every great transformation story, we have to tell you about the ‘before and after.’ Prior to COVID-19, we at Children’s Hospital New Orleans saw about 250 virtual visits per month, mainly in specialty care and behavioral/mental health. Throughout the pandemic, we are averaging more than 300 patients per day with many of these now being primary care visits in addition to all specialties. Almost overnight, the hospital trained and enrolled over 150 new clinicians and support staff, representing more than 20 pediatric subspecialties and primary care, to see patients through virtual care. In the first week after the COVID-19 outbreak in our community, Children’s Hospital saw a 2,000% increase in virtual care visits compared to before the pandemic began, and that number continues to rise.

Virtual care has allowed pediatricians like me to continue to care for the multitude of ongoing health needs of children that aren’t related to coronavirus, including routine well checks, sick visits and follow-up visits. For pediatric patients who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, virtual care allows for the ability to safely triage patients from home and then, if needed, direct them to the most appropriate place to be seen in-person with as little community contact as possible. Pediatric clinicians can also screen health problems over the phone and determine what level of care is needed.

If you are parent or caregiver and are wary to leave the house but still need care, consider trying out Children’s Hospital Virtual Care!

Here are some things that can ALWAYS be seen through a virtual visit:

  • Pink Eye
  • Bug Bites
  • Rash
  • Head Lice
  • Contact Dermatitis
  • Impetigo
  • School Issues
  • Sleep issues
  • ADHD follow-up/refills
  • Constipation
  • Behavior problems
  • Anxiety/depression follow-up
  • Obesity follow-up
  • Urinary concerns where parents can drop off urine sample
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Acute gastroenteritis
  • Allergic rhinitis/allergies
  • Headache follow-up

These diagnoses could SOMETIMES be scheduled as a virtual visit:

  • Acute otitis media in older children/swimmer’s ear
  • Upper respiratory Infection
  • Acute gastroenteritis
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Allergic rhinitis/allergies
  • Headache follow-up
  • Asthma follow-ups (to reassess symptom control)

We are excited to continue to grow our virtual care offerings. We know that the increased use of technology in these trying times will forever change how we care for our patients and families – meeting them where they are, and enhancing the care we provide for them from near or far!

About the Author 

Dr. Leah Douglas

Dr. Leah A. Douglas joined the Children’s Hospital Pediatric Primary Care team in July of 2019. Dr. Douglas earned her medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine in Mobile, Alabama. She went on to complete her internship and residency in Pediatrics at LSU Health New Orleans and Children’s Hospital New Orleans. Dr. Douglas has over 7 years’ experience in pediatric emergency medicine and pediatrics. She has lived in New Orleans for the past ten years, and has practiced primary care for the past five years. Dr. Douglas is board certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the American Medical Association. Her clinical interests include preventative medicine and promoting vaccine safety and efficacy. In her spare time, Dr. Douglas enjoys international travel, reading, animal rescue, and New Orleans Saints football.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here