Improving patient care by virtual case discussion between plastic surgeons and residents of Uganda and the Netherlands

Titus M. Opegu, Johannes A. Smit, Nadia Lachkar, Edris W. Kalanzi, M. Jenda Hop, Caroline Driessen, Matthijs Botman, Paul P. M. van Zuijlen, Oren Lapid, Wouter B. van der Sluis, Rose Alenyo, Joel Wandabwa, Adelaide E. Mghase, Zenebe Teklu, Simon Kazibwe, Corstiaan C. Breugem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Traditional on-site missions of plastic surgeons from “high-income countries” in “low- and middle-income countries” are often limited in time and lack proper follow-up. Regular digital collaboration could lead to a more impactful and durable exchange of knowledge for plastic surgeons and residents in both settings. Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate the satisfaction of the first twelve months of weekly digital meetings, explore advantages/disadvantages, and to provide tools for similar initiatives. Methods: Weekly meetings started from August 2021. An encrypted digital connection allowed residents and plastic surgeons from Uganda and the Netherlands to discuss cases for educational purposes, where treatment options were considered. After twelve months, a survey was sent to participants from both countries to indicate the meetings’ strengths, weaknesses, and possible improvements. Results: A total of 18 participants responded to the questionnaire (ten plastic surgeons, six residents, and two researchers). The strengths of the meetings were the accessibility of the meetings, knowledge exchange and practice for residents’ final exams. Possible improvements included having a clear format for patient discussion, a session moderator and better internet connectivity. Moreover, a database to assess the impact of the given intervention on the patient cases by evaluating postoperatively (e.g. three months), could further improve clinical care. Conclusions: Virtual patient discussions subjectively contributed to medical education at both locations. Improved digital infrastructure and a collaborative database could further maximize learning capacity. Furthermore, digital proctoring is a promising way to establish sustainable collaborations between high- and low-resource countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-323
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • Education
  • Global health
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Medical
  • Program evaluation
  • Remote consultation

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