A review of paediatric telehealth for pre- and post-operative surgical patients

J Telemed Telecare. 2014 Oct;20(7):400-4. doi: 10.1177/1357633X14552373.


The Queensland Telepaediatric Service (QTS) was established in the year 2000 to deliver a broad range of paediatric specialist health services from the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) in Brisbane, mainly via videoconference. During a 13-year study period, the QTS facilitated 18,949 video consultations, comprising Mental Health (42%), Medicine (30%), Surgery (21%) and Other (8%). We reviewed the surgical services provided through the QTS. There were 3880 video consultations with a paediatric surgeon. Most of these (91%) used fixed videoconferencing units, 8% were delivered via mobile units (robots) and 1% were delivered using Skype. Surgical consultations were provided by telehealth to 106 sites: 89% in Queensland and the rest to other states. The main surgical specialties were burns (50%), ear, nose and throat (19%), general surgery (21%), orthopaedics (9%) and vascular anomalies (2%). During a 12-month audit period, there were 224 teleconsultations in general surgery; the most common reason for referral was for undescended testes (17%). During the study period there was a significant growth in all surgical telehealth activity: linear regression showed an annual increase of 17 cases per year (P < 0.02). In the last four years of the study, there was a substantial growth in the general surgical component, although there was also a reduction in the burns component. Telehealth has potential for other specialist consultations which require periodic assessment and review.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics / organization & administration
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Queensland
  • Regression Analysis
  • Remote Consultation / methods
  • Remote Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Specialties, Surgical / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / statistics & numerical data*
  • Videoconferencing