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UPMC Horizon Now Provides Telemedicine Technology for High-Risk Pregnancies

PITTSBURGH, July 8, 2015 – Women with high-risk pregnancies occasionally encounter complications that lead to emergency room visits and when those are particularly complex, women in the tristate area can face the cost and logistical inconvenience of transferring from their local hospitals to Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh. A new program at UPMC Horizon in collaboration with Magee is changing that.

The new Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) Inpatient Telemedicine Services at UPMC Horizon uses state-of-the-art HIPAA-secure teleconferencing technology to connect around the clock with Magee MFM specialized obstetricians and emergency room physicians located in Pittsburgh who address serious health conditions related to high-risk pregnancies. This new model of care brings Magee’s MFM specialists close to a patient’s home, overcoming geographic barriers.

“We are pleased to bring the expertise of our MFM specialists to the UPMC Horizon community. Extending world-class care to patients close to home is a big part of UPMC’s mission in all of the regions we serve. We expect that this program will help optimize pregnancy care in the community, and, if transfer ends up being necessary, better prepare women and their families for the care they will need in Pittsburgh,” says Hyagriv N. Simhan, M.D., professor and chief, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and vice-chair, Obstetrical Services for the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The physicians collaborate, review patient records and outline recommendations for treatment, reducing the number of unnecessary transfers to Pittsburgh and providing consultation in the patient’s community. If the medical team determines that a patient requires advanced care, Magee immediately expedites the inpatient transfer process.

“Ideal candidates for this program include women with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, preterm labor, seizure disorders, thyroid disease, chronic high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Ira Abramowitz, M.D., chair of the Department of Maternal-Child Health at UPMC Horizon. “The benefit of being able to remain close to family and friends while managing their pregnancy cannot be underestimated for these women.”

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