Telemedicine--an efficient and cost-effective approach in parathyroid surgery

Laryngoscope. 2011 Jul;121(7):1422-5. doi: 10.1002/lary.21812. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost Savings*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnosis
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Parathyroidectomy / methods
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Telemedicine / economics*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States