Current Surgical Trainee Perceptions and Experiences in Telehealth

Emaad J. Iqbal, Thomas Sutton, Mudassir S. Akther, Ashraf Samhan, Stephanie MacDonald, Julia R. Coleman, Patricia L. Turner, Vahagn C. Nikolian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Broad expansion of telehealth technologies has been implemented during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to allow for physical distancing and limitation of viral transmission within health care facilities. Although telehealth has been studied for its impact on patients, payors, and practitioners, its educational impact is largely unstudied. To better understand the trainee experience and perception of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted a survey of the membership of the American College of Surgeons Resident and Associate Society (RAS). Methods: An anonymous survey was sent to members of RAS. Descriptive analysis was used to report experiences and perceptions. Chi-square analysis was used to compare cohorts with and without exposure to telehealth. Results: Of the 465 RAS respondents, 292 (62.8%) reported knowledge of telehealth technologies at their institutions. The majority of these respondents experienced a decrease in in-person clinic volume (94.4%) and an associated increase in virtual clinic volume (95.7%) related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trainee integration into telehealth workflows increased drastically from prepandemic levels (11% vs. 54.5%, p < 0.001). Likelihood of trainee exposure to telehealth was associated with university-based training programs or larger program size. Trainees demonstrated a desire for more integration and development of curricula. Conclusions: These data serve as the first description of surgical trainee experience with, and opinion of, telehealth. Trainees recognize the importance of their integration and training in telehealth. These results should be used to guide the development of workflows and curricula that integrate trainees into telemedicine clinics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-797
Number of pages9
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • COVID-19
  • surgical education
  • surgical residents
  • surgical trainees
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine
  • video visit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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