The Use of Telemedicine for the Postoperative Urological Care of Children: Results of a Pilot Program

J Urol. 2019 Jul;202(1):159-163. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000000109. Epub 2019 Jun 7.


Purpose: For postoperative visits, which are often brief interactions between family and clinician, patients may prefer the convenience of receiving postoperative care from home. We evaluated the feasibility of telemedicine for postoperative encounters in pediatric urology.

Materials and methods: We performed a prospective telemedicine pilot study during an implementation period from November 10, 2017 to March 22, 2018. All postoperative patients deemed eligible by 1 of 4 urologists were offered enrollment in the telemedicine program. Enrollees underwent at least 1 virtual visit within 6 weeks of surgery. Technical difficulties and the number of unscheduled visits and readmissions were noted. After each virtual evaluation the family and clinician were prompted to complete a survey pertaining to perceptions of the telemedicine experience, including how effective the virtual visit was in delivering care. For each virtual visit with a urologist we estimated roundtrip travel cost and time.

Results: There was 96% technical success when using the software. A total of 125 postoperative virtual visits were completed in 83 patients. Median age of the children was 3.4 years and 87% were boys. Clinicians found that the virtual visit was "very effective" in 86% of cases, delivering the same care that they would have provided during a visit in person. Families were estimated to have saved a mean $150 travel cost and a median of 113 minutes of travel time per visit. No adverse postoperative outcomes were observed.

Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrates that telemedicine can be successfully implemented in the postoperative care of pediatric urology patients.

Keywords: child health; health care surveys; postoperative care; telemedicine; urology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Telemedicine*
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Young Adult