A National Evaluation of Surgeon Experiences in Telemedicine for the Care of Hernia and Abdominal Core Health Patients

Vahagn C. Nikolian, Mudassir Akhter, Emaad J. Iqbal, Thomas Sutton, Ashraf Samhan, Sean B. Orenstein, Michael J. Rosen, Benjamin K. Poulose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Surgeons are increasingly utilizing telemedicine to provide perioperative services to patients. Safety, satisfaction, and feasibility of these programs in general populations have been established, but it is unclear how telemedicine can be integrated into subspecialty care. We report results of a national survey related to telehealth practices among members of the Abdominal Core Health Quality Collaborative (ACHQC). Methods: Survey responses were analyzed to determine current strategies in telemedicine utilization. Surgeon preferences, perceptions of validity, and identified barriers to implementation of telemedicine were assessed. Results: Forty surgeons within the ACHQC responded, with 90% of respondents reporting use of telemedicine to deliver perioperative care to patients with hernias and abdominal core health concerns. Surgeons appeared to be more comfortable managing preoperative patients with image-confirmed diagnoses of hernias. Surgeons were universally more comfortable delivering postoperative care via telemedicine. Connectivity, patient engagement, and reimbursement were identified as potential barriers to expansion of telemedicine. Seventy-eight percent of respondents reported that they would increase telemedicine utilization if current regulations were maintained in the future. Conclusions: This study found that hernia specialists are utilizing telemedicine at a higher rate than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with surgeons reporting interest in continued use of this modality beyond the pandemic. These findings suggest that future work in telemedicine optimization may improve the quality of care that can be delivered to patients with abdominal core health concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld journal of surgery
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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