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

Rifat Latifi, George J. Hadeed, Peter Rhee, Terrence O'Keeffe, Randall S. Friese, Julie L. Wynne, Michelle L. Ziemba, Dan Judkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-910
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Rural trauma
  • Telemedicine
  • Telepresence
  • Teletrauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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