See COVID-19 resources and updates.

If your child has an upcoming appointment, please contact your local Shriners Hospitals for Children location.

Skip to navigation

Care, innovation, education and research

news item News Wednesday, November 4, 2020 Wednesday, November 4, 2020 3:19 PM - Wednesday, November 4, 2020 3:19 PM

Pediatric surgeon publishes article in Pull-Thru Network, Inc. exclusive newsletter

Wider Adoption of Telemedicine Creates New Opportunities for Colorectal and Urogenital Care

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California’s Medical Director of the Pediatric Colorectal Center Payam Saadai, M.D., recently submitted a thought leadership piece to the Pull-Thru Network, Inc. for distribution in their exclusive, quarterly newsletter. The Pull-Thru Network, Inc. is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information, education, support and advocacy for families, children, teens and adults who are living with the challenges of congenital anorectal, colorectal, and/or urogenital disorders and any of the associated diagnoses.

Dr. Saadai’s piece, Wider Adoption of Telemedicine Creates New Opportunities for Colorectal and Urogenital Care, explains the dramatic increase in opportunities to connect patients and doctors using telemedicine platforms that came as a result of the stay-at-home orders issued during the coronavirus pandemic. At the Northern California Shriners Hospital, medical staff members successfully transitioned 20% of all visits to telehealth visits utilizing the Fast Track Video Visit platform. This successful transition allows patients and their families to meet with doctors from the comfort of their own homes. For colorectal and urogenital patients in particular, it has increased access to care in ways never seen before.

Read Dr. Saadai’s exclusive article below.

Wider Adoption of Telemedicine Creates New Opportunities for Colorectal and Urogenital Care
By: Payam Saadai, M.D., Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California

The current coronavirus pandemic continues to be at the forefront of our medical community’s mind and practice. Although the pandemic has created unique hardships for patients and families who are managing chronic anorectal, colorectal and urogenital conditions, it has also introduced new opportunities and platforms that positively impact continuity of care in specialty pediatrics.

The pandemic, especially in the early days, disrupted some of the supply chains which provide the durable medical equipment that is critical to colorectal and urogenital home care. As noted in the recent April 2020 issue of the Pull-thru Network News, certain items –  such as those essential to bowel flush/enema programs –  have been in short supply during the pandemic. Fortunately, supply chains are beginning to recover and home care supplies are becoming more readily available.

But COVID-19 has also introduced a significant opportunity for the colorectal and urogenital care community by prompting a tremendous increase in telemedicine. Providers, patients and policymakers have embraced telemedicine out of necessity to curb the spread of COVID-19 and to maintain communication with one another. For patients in the colorectal and urogenital care community, this has increased access to care and improved care in unique ways.

Pediatric colorectal and urogenital home care requires a high level of parent education, confidence and skill. Video visits are particularly useful in the early days of a diagnosis when new patient families have so many questions about their child’s care. Telemedicine also improves our ability to follow up with patients after hospitalizations and in between scheduled in-person visits. In our practice, for example, patients who live several hours away from our offices in Sacramento can now consult with their care team and specialists more easily and frequently via telemedicine. Further, issues that might otherwise prompt a trip to the patient’s local hospital or urgent care – where staff may be unfamiliar with the patient’s unique medical history or diagnosis – can sometimes be handled and addressed via a video visit.

A recent article published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition outlines the special benefits of telemedicine for gastroenterology patients. Notably, telemedicine visits allow care teams to gain a greater understanding of a patient’s home health environment. Providers can meet home care nurses, connect with multiple family members, and identify risks for complications and readmission. Another study, published in the journal Lancet, found that telemedicine reduced outpatient visits and hospital admissions for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (as compared with standard care in a randomized controlled trial).

While no one can predict when the COVID-19 pandemic will be behind us, telemedicine is one positive side effect of these otherwise difficult times. Video visits are a new, powerful tool in our colorectal and urogenital care toolkit.

Dr. Payam Saadai is a pediatric surgeon at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California who specializes in pediatric colorectal disorders. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California now offers telemedicine Fast Track Video Visits (FTVV) to new and existing patients.

Dr. Saadai with patient