Telepresence of surgeons successful in trauma settings

A new study suggests that telepresence of a remote trauma surgeon could be useful and functional in a trauma setting, with the potential to address staffing shortages in rural and urban trauma care during mass casualty or disaster scenarios.

Published in Telemedicine and e-Health's April edition, researchers from the University of Miami's Lehman Injury Research Center, Division of Trauma and Surgical Care, utilized the Remote Presence-7 robot with real-time, two-way communication between local and remote physicians conducted at a local trauma center.

More than 100 telepresence patient encounters were performed, with high levels of satisfaction reported among both remote and local physicians--92 percent and 79 percent, respectively. Overall, the telemedicine experience was rated as "excellent" or "above average" by 89 percent of local and remote physicians involved, according to the study.

"The integration of telemedicine into the trauma environment extends the reach of the trauma care specialists beyond the limits imposed by time and distance," the study's authors said. "This study hypothesizes that telepresence is a useful and acceptable technology for an experienced trauma physician to successfully participate in the assessment and care of a trauma patient from a remote location."

The robot enabled physicians to have remote access wherever Internet access was available, with high-quality audiovisual communications equipment and robotic mobility.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center uses telepresence technology to provide live support for surgeons in other countries who have difficulty replicating complex new procedures. Since 2005, its base surgical team of surgeons and otolaryngologists has trained more than 500 surgeons in 30 countries.

To learn more:
- read the study in Telemedicine and e-Health

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