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Anesth Analg. 2020 Feb;130(2):276-284. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000004346.

To Infinity and Beyond: The Past, Present, and Future of Tele-Anesthesia.

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1
From the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina.

Abstract

Because the scope of anesthesia practice continues to expand, especially within the perioperative domain, our specialty must continually examine technological services that allow us to provide care in innovative ways. Telemedicine has facilitated the remote provision of medical services across many different specialties, but it remains somewhat unclear whether the use of telemedicine would fit within the practice of anesthesiology on a consistent basis. There have been several reports on the successful use of telemedicine within the preoperative and intraoperative realm. However, patient selection, patient and provider satisfaction, case cancellation rates, equipment reliability, and security of protected health information are just some of the issues that require further examination. This article seeks to review comprehensively the available literature related to the use of telemedicine within the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases of anesthetic care as well as analyze the major hurdles often encountered when implementing a teleconsultation service. Security of connection, data storage and encryption, federal and state medical licensure compliance, as well as overall cost/savings analysis are a few of the issues that warrant further exploration and research. As telemedicine programs develop within the perioperative arena, it is imperative for institutions to share knowledge, successes, and pitfalls to improve the delivery of care in today's technology-driven medical landscape.

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