Safe Place Telemedicine Program
The child sexual abuse physical examination is a critical part of the multidisciplinary team process of a child advocacy center, and is beneficial for the child and family as well as the investigative and legal systems. Yet, access to this pediatric specialized service is limited due to few providers with the needed medical and forensic expertise. Telemedicine has emerged as a solution to address the shortage of trained clinicians to evaluate, and treat these child victims.
Pediatricians at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) who work with child abuse victims successfully launched a telemedicine/telecolposcopy program in 2016. High-quality telemedicine care enables pediatricians to interact with the patient and family, participate in telecolposcopy, obtain diagnostic-quality photo documentation, and provide recommendations for sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing. Our research team conducted a study of patients and their caregivers and found a strong positive experience in the use of telemedicine for these examinations. Efforts to expand this innovative approach to care are being studied in other vulnerable populations.
The Safe Place Telemedicine Program is currently available on an outpatient basis within CHOP to increase capacity and facilitate access to this specialized care. Referrals for our services can be initiated through a CHOP provider, and depending on the team staffing and locations, we may utilize telemedicine vs. a traditional visit.