The new study illustrated that bariatric surgery is often recommended as a treatment option for individuals diagnosed with obesity that is resistant to conventional medical advice, however it is likely not carried out to a sufficientlevel. Obesity is a major issue in the United States at present, with patients from minority racial and ethnic groups and those with poor socioeconomic position are disproportionately affected by obesity, which affects Americans of all ages, genders, and sexual orientation.
Researchers proposed that telehealth may offer certain advantages that would improve the levels of access to bariatric surgery for individuals. Due to this, the researchers undertook a study to evaluate the effectiveness of preoperative care for bariatric surgery delivered via telehealth, comparing it with the delivery of in-person care. Primarily, a cohort study was conducted to assess the postoperative clinical outcomes and hospital use between two groups who obtained pre-surgical evaluation through either telehealth or in person services. Following a preoperative surgical evaluation, individuals who took part in the survey received a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. The procedures were performed between the beginning of 2018, and the end 2019 for those engaging with in person services. The telehealth services were delivered between July of 2020 and December of 2021. This is likely a fair reflection of the effectiveness of in person healthcare due to the findings being derived from pre pandemic appointments. The study population consisted of 1182 participants, and the patients in the in-person control group had a higher prevalence of comorbidities, whereas those in the telehealth group consisted of younger individuals with the majority identifying as female.
Following a preoperative surgical evaluation, all study participants received a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. The primary outcome used by researchers was clinical outcomes, which comprised of the following metrics:
- significant adverse events
- length of hospital stay (LOS)
- operating room delay
- operation duration (MAE).
Researchers also placed emphasis on the use of postoperative hospital resources, such as ED visits and hospital readmissions. Following analysis, researchers came to the conclusion that the clinical outcomes for the 257 patients in the telemedicine group were comparable to those for the 925 patients in the control group, demonstrating the viability of telehealth as a preoperative care option for bariatric surgery. It was evident that weakness existed within the study, and the following were mentioned in the analysis:
- The single institution setting.
- The possibility of retroactive bias
- Possible inconsistencies with self-reported figures given by the telehealth group during their follow up appointments