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Virtual Visits As Good As Traditional Rounds

Same standard of care and patient satisfaction with both methods of post-op follow-up

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Robotic telerounds deliver the same standard of care and patient satisfaction as traditional rounds after urologic surgery, according to study findings published in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Lars M. Ellison, M.D., of the University of California Davis in Sacramento, Calif., and colleagues conducted a study of 270 adult patients who underwent a urologic procedure and a hospital stay of one to three days. The patients were randomized to receive either a traditional bedside rounds visit or a robotic telerounds visit. Both groups had similar baseline demographic profiles.

There was little difference in morbidity rates between the two groups, at 16 percent for the standard rounds group and 13 percent for the telerounds group. Length of stay was 2.8 days for both groups. Patients rated their satisfaction similarly high in both groups. Telerounding has the potential to ease the burden of time pressure on physicians and maintain quality of care, the report indicates.

"Videoconferencing systems give physicians the potential to directly assess their own patients' situation. This is optimal compared with current practices where partners or other health care professionals with little previous patient knowledge are called on to make assessments based purely on pathways rather than firsthand operative events," they conclude.

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