A study published in the December Archives of Surgery suggests that remote patient monitoring is as effective and safe as in-person monitoring, the Washington Post reports. To evaluate the efficacy of telerounding, in which physicians use robots equipped with videoconference equipment to check on patients from a remote location, researchers from Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Maine, divided 270 adult postoperative patients into two groups. The control group received traditional in-person rounds, while the teleround group received bedside checks via robots. The robot, which includes a motor base unit, central processing unit, high-definition digital camera, flat-screen monitor and microphone, transmits and receives data across a wireless Internet connection, allowing physicians to connect to the system from almost anywhere. Across the study period, 16 percent of patients in the control group developed complications, compared with 13 percent of patients receiving telerounds. In addition, both groups had similar hospital lengths of stay and patient satisfaction scores, suggesting to researchers that telerounding may be as effective as traditional bedside rounds for post-surgical care (Hom, Washington Post, 1/15/08; Ellison et al., Archives of Surgery, December 2007 [subscription required]).