Purpose of review: Advances in health information technology and broadband Internet connections provide novel opportunities for anesthesiologists to extend perioperative consultation services to remote geographic areas. Increasing economic pressures on healthcare delivery systems make initiatives such as telemedicine, which reduce costs while achieving excellent outcomes, an attractive option.
Recent findings: Initiatives in remote access to anesthesiology services are emerging throughout the world in the areas of preoperative evaluation, intraoperative consultation, postoperative management and critical care as well as simulation and education. Physicians caring for patients in remote areas can benefit from the expertise found in subspecialty centers. In the US a number of states provide reimbursement for telemedicine services offered in several specialties, including anesthesiology.
Summary: Anesthesiologists have the opportunity to develop telemedicine programs that can improve the delivery of care to patients. Current programs offer services ranging from remote preoperative evaluation to international collaboration for intraoperative management and consultation. Simulation using telemedicine services can provide educational opportunities and test the effectiveness of institutions’ communications systems.