BACKGROUND: Study of telemedicine and telerounding in surgical specialties is limited . The push for telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the face-to-face rounding paradigm and creates an opportunity for reflection on the benefits of telemedicine, especially for balancing competing corporate and clinical demands .
METHODS: The 117-month video-based inpatient telerounding experience of a colorectal surgeon in an academic medical system was recorded, including patient characteristics, diagnoses, technology, content of telerounding encounters, and logistical considerations . Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics .
RESULTS : 163 patients were seen in 201 telerounding encounters, primarily for routine postoperative care (90.5 %). Most were admitted for inflammatory bowel disease (63.2 %). Changes were made to plans of care during 28.9% of encounters, and discharge planning was part of 26.4% . Encounters were conducted primarily from the surgeon's administrative office (68.7 %) or other work-related locations (10.9 %), while 6.5% originated from the surgeon's home . Technologic issues occurred in 5.5% of encounters . 89.1% of patient feedback was positive and none was negative .
CONCLUSION: Telerounding is technologically feasible and has clinical value, including for patients with complex surgical problems . Technologic problems are rare and patient satisfaction is high . Surgeons should consider telerounding as a means to balance competing demands.