Tele-Medicine Can Improve Care for Sexual Abuse Victims in Rural Areas

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have completed a study showing that “telehealth” consultations can be highly beneficial in providing better health outcomes for victims of sexual abuse in rural areas. The study showed that clinicians at rural health clinics were able to provide better care to sexual abuse patients when they were able to consult with university experts through tele-connections.

The telehealth network uses secure teleconferencing equipment to link rural clinics with nurses at the University of California, Davis. The systems provide video and audio information to the university experts, including advanced colposcopes that can give the university nurses magnified images. The system essentially put university nurses in the examination room at the rural clinic.

The university hired independent experts to assess the value of the system. By examining cases at eight rural clinics, five of which had the telehealth systems and three that did not, the analysis found that the clinics with the system improved care in examination findings and diagnostic accuracy.

Sheridan Miyamoto, a forensic nurse practitioner and research nurse at the Moore School of Nursing at the university and the lead author of the study, stated, “It is important that we get this right. Due to a lack of experience and regular exposure, many examiners are prone to assess normal variations as injuries from trauma. Telehealth offers support and built-in peer review for nurses, physicians, and other clinicians practicing in relative isolation.

Miyamoto earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Davis and a master’s degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University. The study was funded by grants from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.


Filed Under: Research/StudySexual Assault/Harassment


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply