Objectives/hypothesis: To demonstrate the effectiveness and cost benefit of using telemedicine for the postoperative visit in patients undergoing parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism.
Study design: Prospective noncontrolled study at a tertiary medical center of a cohort of 39 patients undergoing postoperative care after parathyroidectomy through TeleHealth at a number of sites at various distances from the primary surgical facility.
Methods: From October 2006 through January 2010, 149 patients underwent parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism at one tertiary medical center by a single surgeon. Age, sex, distance from the patient's home to the surgical center and to the TeleHealth site, effective completion of the TeleHealth visit, and postoperative complications were recorded.
Results: Of the 149 patients who underwent parathyroidectomy, 39 had their postoperative visit using TeleHealth (26%). There were 26 females (67%) and 13 (33%) males. Mean age was 64 years. All visits were effectively carried out and completed with a nurse and the patient at a remote TeleHealth site and the surgeon at the surgical center site. There were no postoperative surgical complications noted with the visits. Average round-distance travel saved was 119 miles. The travel distance saved translated into an average savings of $357.00 per patient (which included estimations of transportation costs and lost work time), with further immeasurable benefits to the patient and healthcare system.
Conclusions: TeleHealth is a cost-effective and efficient way to follow-up with patients who have undergone parathyroidectomy, with significant convenience and financial benefits for the patient and healthcare system.
Copyright © 2011 The American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otological Society, Inc.