Feasibility and reliability of telemedicine examinations for respiratory distress in children: A pilot study

On behalf of the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Respiratory disorders are a leading cause of acute care visits by children. Data establishing the reliability of telemedicine in evaluating children with respiratory concerns are limited. The overall objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the use of telemedicine to evaluate children with respiratory concerns. We performed a pilot prospective cohort study of children 12 to 71 months old presenting to the emergency department (ED) with lower respiratory tract signs and symptoms. Three examinations were performed simultaneously—one by the ED clinician with the patient, one by a remote ED clinician using telemedicine, and one by the child's parent. We evaluated measures of agreement between (a) the local and remote clinicians, (b) the local clinician and the parent, and (c) the parent and the remote clinician. Twenty-eight patients were enrolled (84 paired examinations). Except for heart rate, all examination findings evaluated (general appearance, capillary refill time, grunting, nasal flaring, shortness of breath, retractions, impression of respiratory distress, respiratory rate, and temperature) had acceptable or excellent agreement between raters. In this pilot study, we found that telemedicine respiratory examinations of young children are feasible and reliable, using readily available platforms and equipment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Telemedicine
  • agreement
  • pediatrics
  • physical examination
  • respiratory diseases
  • telehealth
  • telepaediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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