Memorial Hospital began offering a new burn care service in January.

TeleBurn is a service provided by the Lehigh Valley Health Network that now allows the emergency department staff at Memorial to work with Lehigh Valley Regional Burn Center specialists around the clock.

The service has the potential to result in fewer patients being transferred to more specialized burn treatment centers, said Josette Myers, spokeswoman for Memorial Hospital.

Staff will complete initial emergency care, take photographs of burns and upload them to a secure site for Lehigh Valley burn specialists to view. Specialists will talk directly to staff at Memorial Hospital to help manage care or to recommend transferring someone to a burn center.

"It allows the burn surgeons at Lehigh Valley Health Network to access that burn without having to work blindly," said Joseph Tracy, vice president for TeleHealth Services.

The TeleBurn program has 59 locations that are mainly hospitals, but also include three industrial sites and three urgent care centers, Tracy said.

Most sites are in Pennsylvania, but there are three hospitals in New Jersey that are part of TeleBurn, he said.

"You never want to see anybody get burned, and this is just one way that we can help the remote emergency rooms like Memorial's with their burn cases, so one way or another we can get treatment started sooner rather than later," Tracy said.


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Previously: Without the access to resources TeleBurn provides, emergency room staff had to attempt to describe burns over the phone and make a decision on their own as to whether a patient should be treated there or taken to a burn center, Tracy said.

If transferred, patients in the TeleBurn system are not required to be transferred to a Lehigh Valley Health Network burn center, he said.

Before the TeleBurn program began in December 2008, more patients were being transferred than necessary, Tracy said.

"And you don't want to put them in an ambulance or helicopter if you don't have to," said Tracy.

-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com