Surgeon, patient, and caregiver perspective of pediatric surgical telemedicine in the COVID-19 pandemic era

Pediatr Surg Int. 2022 Feb;38(2):241-248. doi: 10.1007/s00383-021-05016-8. Epub 2021 Sep 22.


Purpose: Adoption of telemedicine (TME) in surgical specialties, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, has previously been slow. The purpose of this prospective, observational, single institution study is to evaluate surgeon and caregiver perspectives of TMEs during the pandemic.

Methods: Surveys were distributed to surgical faculty regarding perceptions of TME early during the pandemic and 2 months later. Caregivers (or patients > 18 years old) were asked after each TME to complete a survey regarding perceptions of TMEs.

Results: Surveys were distributed to 73 surgeons. Response rates were 71% initially and 63% at follow-up. Sixty-eight percent reported no prior TME experience. No significant differences were noted in the overall satisfaction. An inverse relationship between surgeon age and satisfaction at the follow-up survey was identified (p = 0.007). Additional surveys were distributed to 616 caregivers or patients (response rate 13%). Seventy-two percent reported no prior experience with TME and 79% described TME as similar to an in-person visit. Audiovisual satisfaction of the TME was higher in greater income households (p = 0.02).

Conclusions: Pre-pandemic experience with TME was low in both groups; however, experiences were perceived as satisfactory. Positive experiences with TME may encourage increased utilization in the future, although demographic variations may impact satisfaction with TME.

Trial registration: Unique identifier NCT04376710 at (5/6/2020).

Keywords: COVID-19; Pediatrics; Surgery; Telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19*
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surgeons*
  • Telemedicine*

Associated data