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Am J Surg. 2009 Dec;198(6):905-10. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.08.011.

Initial experiences and outcomes of telepresence in the management of trauma and emergency surgical patients.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Critical Care & Emergency Surgery, University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Center, Tucson, AZ, USA. rlatifi@surgery.arizona.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Teletrauma programs allow rural patients access to advanced trauma and emergency medical services that are often limited to urban areas.

METHODS:

A retrospective analysis of 59 teleconsults between 5 rural hospitals and a level I trauma center was performed. The objectives of this study were to report the initial experience with a telemedicine program connecting 5 rural hospitals with a level I trauma center.

RESULTS:

A total of 59 trauma and general surgery patients were evaluated. Of those, 35 (59%) were trauma patients, and 24 (41%) were general surgery patients. Fifty patients (85%) were from the first hospital at which teletrauma was established. For 6 patients, the teletrauma consults were considered potentially lifesaving; 17 patients (29%) were kept in the rural hospitals (8 trauma and 9 general surgery patients). Treating patients in the rural hospitals avoided transfers, saving an average of $19,698 per air transport or $2,055 per ground transport.

CONCLUSIONS:

The telepresence of a trauma surgeon aids in the initial evaluation, treatment, and care of patients, improving outcomes and reducing the costs of trauma care.

PMID:
19969150
DOI:
10.1016/j.amjsurg.2009.08.011
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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