Overcoming distance: video-conferencing as a clinical and educational tool among surgeons

World J Surg. 2009 Jul;33(7):1356-65. doi: 10.1007/s00268-009-0036-0.


Background: Since the 1960s, there has been substantial development in the uses of video-conferencing (VC) among medical personnel, including surgeons who have adopted the technology.

Methods: A report on our own experience with VC was combined with a comprehensive PubMed search with the key words telepresence, video-conferencing, video-teleconferencing, telementoring and surgery, trauma, follow-up, education, and multidisciplinary teams. A search through two peer-reviewed telemedicine journals -- Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare and Telemedicine and e-Health Journal -- and references of all included papers and identified additional reports was conducted.

Results: A total of 517 articles were identified with 51 relevant manuscripts, which included the key phrases. VC is widely used among surgeons for telementoring surgical procedures and in trauma and emergency medicine. Furthermore, VC is widely used by multidisciplinary teams and for the follow-up of patients after surgery.

Conclusions: VC is a common clinical tool for surgeons and provides a great opportunity to alter surgical practice and to offer patients the best expertise in surgical treatment despite long distances, especially in rural areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rural Population
  • Satellite Communications / organization & administration
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / education*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • Videoconferencing / organization & administration*