Telemedicine may conjure up visions of distant doctors
disconnected from their patients, but nothing could be further
from the truth, says Dr. Miriam I. Redleaf, associate professor of
otolaryngology, and physician in the UI telemedicine
otolaryngology clinic in Rockford.
The services in otology – conditions of the ear – are
provided using video otoscope technology provided by the
University of Illinois Division of Specialized Care for Children
(DSCC). While Redleaf directs a family medicine resident examining
the pediatric patients at the UI Rockford’s Telemedicine Clinic,
she is viewing the feed from the otoscope in the telemedicine
office in Chicago. Via a secure internet connection, patients and
their parents speak directly to Dr. Redleaf.
As Redleaf and the family medicine physician make an ongoing
treatment plan, Redleaf finds that the family has more time and
opportunity than usual to learn about the diagnosis and
appropriate treatment. “It’s an educational experience for
everyone,” said Redleaf.
The clinic, which opened Jan. 12, is a collaborative effort
between the University of Illinois College of Medicine at
Rockford, UIC College of Medicine at Chicago and DSCC.
The goal is to provide high-quality treatment of ear and
hearing conditions to children – especially those in underserved
populations – who otherwise would be without access to the
specialized knowledge and experience Redleaf can offer. The
program, providing information technology-driven medical services
across communities in real-time, is thought to be among the first
of its kind in the country.
Patients so far have included children with malformations of
the ear, facial weakness and chronic ear infections. Redleaf
eventually hopes to see the service in Rockford expand both beyond
patients referred through DSCC, to include adults and into other
areas of treatment, including audio-metric testing and a cochlear
A patient who had cochlear implant surgery in Chicago, for
example, could have supportive and follow-up services closer to
home at the Rockford clinic. “We already have the technology to
program the implant remotely,” she said.
“I would like to see telemedicine expand to all our
satellite campuses,” said Redleaf. “It’s a great program, just
For more information, please contact UIC-DSCC Rockford
Regional Office at (815) 987-7571or toll-free at (800) 651-9319.