WVU professor completes study on telemedicine

January 6, 2019

MORGANTOWN — A medical professor at West Virginia University has completed a study that suggests patients may have greater satisfaction with care after surgery through telemedicine.

The school says telemedicine allows health care providers to use a computer or tablet to remotely evaluate patients.

Professor Albeir Mousa’s study has been accepted for publication in The Annals of Vascular Surgery.

Thirty people recovering from vascular surgery participated in the study, and 16 received a tablet that used an app to facilitate communication with nurses managing their care. The other 14 patients had standard treatment.

As part of an in-home monitoring kit, the telemedicine patients also received thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, scales and devices to measure blood oxygen saturation levels.

They also completed a wellness and symptom tracking quiz that included questions like, “How is your pain today?” Each week they answered satisfaction and emotional wellness questions as well.

These data, along with photos of the surgical incision sites that patients captured with the app, were made available to the patients’ care team.

Patients in the telemedicine group, who lived an average of 60 miles from their vascular care center, scored better on physical function, mental health and role limitations.

“Telemedicine would save a lot of headache in Appalachia — in areas where people don’t even have the money to get in the car to get to the hospital,” said Mousa, who teaches surgery at the WVU Health Sciences Charleston Campus.

He envisions that one day patients will be able to download a cellphone app that provides these telemedicine services. That way, they won’t even need a tablet.

“Each household has at least one cellphone, and most likely, it’s a smartphone. You’re getting the same service,” he said, “but with a very minor hassle for the patient and the physician.”

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