Picture this. You’ve just had your appendix removed and your doctor wants to know how you’re doing. Only, he’s not standing at your bedside. He’s three states away at a medical convention and he’s talking to you over his iPad.
Through face-to-face video calls on iPads and other tablets, many hospitals are now participating in high-tech communications called “telerounding.”
Sometimes by video-chat, sometimes by tweet, and sometimes by plain old e-mail, physicians in many cities are now using smartphones and tablets to make their rounds.
“Patients are looking for us to use current technology in a way that improves their care, and ‘telerounding’ with the iPad really fits that need in enhancing the communication and care following surgery,” said Craig Rogers, M.D., director of Renal Surgery and director of Urologic Oncology at Henry Ford in the press release. Henry Ford was one of the first hospitals to live-tweet surgery using Twitter (News - Alert), according to the press release.
Video-chats are especially popular. Who wouldn’t rather see their surgeon’s expression when getting a diagnosis to rate its level of seriousness? Or discuss a surgical complication and see and hear it with your own ears? Replacing a phone call with a video-chat on the iPad lets patients have something they’ve never been able to before – a personal and confidential conversation with their surgeon, no matter where either of you are. Surgeons like it, too – viewing a patient through a video-chat allows them to actually see how patients are doing.
A recent study, which analyzed patient safety and satisfaction in 270 urology patients, half of whom communicated with doctors via robotic videoconferencing and the other half of whom received regular bedside rounds, found that those who were cared for through telerounding were more satisfied than those with traditional care.
And according to an entry at pubmed.com, another study found that patients “rounded” with remote videoconferencing showed “statistically substantial improvements in ratings of examination thoroughness, quality of discussions about medical information, postoperative care coordination, and attending physician availability”. In fact, patients in the robotic telerounding sample were considerably more satisfied with physician availability.
Edited by Jennifer Russell