Telemedicine for preoperative assessment during a COVID-19 pandemic: Recommendations for clinical care

Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2020 Jun;34(2):345-351. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2020.05.001. Epub 2020 May 14.


Limiting the spread of the disease is key to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes identifying people who have been exposed to COVID-19, minimizing patient contact, and enforcing strict hygiene measures. To prevent healthcare systems from becoming overburdened, elective and non-urgent medical procedures and treatments have been postponed, and primary health care has broadened to include virtual appointments via telemedicine. Although telemedicine precludes the physical examination of a patient, it allows collection of a range of information prior to a patient's admission, and may therefore be used in preoperative assessment. This new tool can be used to evaluate the severity and progression of the main disease, other comorbidities, and the urgency of the surgical treatment as well as preferencing anesthetic procedures. It can also be used for effective screening and triaging of patients with suspected or established COVID-19, thereby protecting other patients, clinicians and communities alike.

Keywords: COVID-19; management; preoperative assessment; surgery; telehealth; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Telemedicine / methods*