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2.
Neurosurgery ; 88(1): E1-E12, 2020 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024127

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Evolving requirements for patient and physician safety and rapid regulatory changes have stimulated interest in neurosurgical telemedicine in the COVID-19 era. OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic literature review investigating treatment of neurosurgical patients via telemedicine, and to evaluate barriers and challenges. Additionally, we review recent regulatory changes that affect telemedicine in neurosurgery, and our institution's initial experience. METHODS: A systematic review was performed including all studies investigating success regarding treatment of neurosurgical patients via telemedicine. We reviewed our department's outpatient clinic billing records after telemedicine was implemented from 3/23/2020 to 4/6/2020 and reviewed modifier 95 inclusion to determine the number of face-to-face and telemedicine visits, as well as breakdown of weekly telemedicine clinic visits by subspecialty. RESULTS: A total of 52 studies (25 prospective and 27 retrospective) with 45 801 patients were analyzed. A total of 13 studies were conducted in the United States and 39 in foreign countries. Patient management was successful via telemedicine in 99.6% of cases. Telemedicine visits failed in 162 cases, 81.5% of which were due to technology failure, and 18.5% of which were due to patients requiring further face-to-face evaluation or treatment. A total of 16 studies compared telemedicine encounters to alternative patient encounter mediums; telemedicine was equivalent or superior in 15 studies. From 3/23/2020 to 4/6/2020, our department had 122 telemedicine visits (65.9%) and 63 face-to-face visits (34.1%). About 94.3% of telemedicine visits were billed using face-to-face procedural codes. CONCLUSION: Neurosurgical telemedicine encounters appear promising in resource-scarce times, such as during global pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neurosurgery/methods , Telemedicine/methods , Humans , Neurosurgical Procedures , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome
3.
J Clin Neurosci ; 85: 1-5, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978342

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, physicians have begun adapting their daily practices to prevent transmissions. In this study we aimed to provide surgical neuro-oncologists with practice guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic based on objective data from a high-volume brain tumor surgeon at the current COVID-19 epicenter. METHODS: All outpatient visits and surgeries performed by the senior author during the COVID-19 pandemic were compared between the initial quarantine (3/23/20-5/4/20), the plateau period following quarantine (5/5/20-6/27/20), and the second peak (6/28/20-7/20/20). In-person and telemedicine visits were evaluated for crossovers. Surgeries were subdivided based on lesion type and evaluated across the same time period. RESULTS: From 3/23/20-7/20/20, 469 clinic visits and 196 surgeries were identified. After quarantine was lifted, face-to-face visits increased (P < 0.01) yet no change in telehealth visits occurred. Of 327 telehealth visits, only 5.8% converted to in-person during the 4-month period with the most cited reason being patient preference (68.4%). Of the 196 surgeries performed during the pandemic, 29.1% occurred during quarantine, 49.0% during the plateau, and 21.9% occurred in the second peak. No COVID negative patients developed symptoms at follow-up. 55.6% were performed on malignant tumors and 31.6% were benign with no difference in case volumes throughout the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Despite exceptional challenges, we have maintained a high-volume surgical neuro-oncology practice at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. We provide the protocols implemented at our institution in order to maximize neuro-oncology care while mitigating risk of COVID-19 exposure to both patients and providers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Oncologists , Patient Preference , Telemedicine/standards , Brain Neoplasms/surgery , Humans , Neurosurgical Procedures , Pandemics/prevention & control , Surgeons
6.
World Neurosurg ; 146: e323-e327, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-957482

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The health care field has been faced with unprecedented challenges during the COVID 19 pandemic. One such challenge was the implementation of enhanced telehealth capabilities to ensure continuity of care. In this study, we aim to understand differences between subspecialties with regard to patient consent and satisfaction following telehealth implementation. METHODS: A retrospective review of the electronic medical record was performed from March 2 to May 8, 2020 to evaluate surgical consents before and after telehealth implementation. Press Ganey survey results were also obtained both pre- and posttelehealth implementation and compared. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the percentage of new patients consented for surgery (after being seen via telehealth only) between the cranial and spine services. For procedures in which >10 patients were consented for surgery, the highest proportion of patients seen only via telehealth was for ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement/endoscopic third ventriculostomy for the cranial service, and lumbar laminectomy and microdiscectomy for the spine service. Additionally, the spine service experienced marked improvement in Press Ganey scores posttelehealth implementation with overall doctor ranking improving from the 29th to the 93rd percentile, and likelihood to recommend increasing from the 24th to the 94th percentile. CONCLUSIONS: There were clear trends with regard to which pathologies and procedures were most amenable to telehealth visits, which suggests a potential roadmap for future clinic planning. Additionally, the notable improvement in spine patient satisfaction following the implementation of a telehealth program suggests the need for long-term process changes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Electronic Health Records/trends , Neurosurgery/trends , Telemedicine/trends , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Neurosurgery/methods , Retrospective Studies , Telemedicine/methods
7.
World Neurosurg ; 145: e202-e208, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-899667

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To determine the impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on operative case volume in 8 U.S. neurosurgical residency training programs in early 2020 and to survey these programs regarding training activities during this period. METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted of monthly operative case volumes and types for 8 residency programs for 2019 and January through April 2020. Cases were grouped as elective cranial, elective spine, and nonelective emergent cases. Programs were surveyed regarding residents' perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 on surgical training, didactics, and research participation. Data were analyzed for individual programs and pooled across programs. RESULTS: Across programs, the 2019 monthly mean ± SD case volume was 211 ± 82; 2020 mean ± SD case volumes for January, February, March, and April were 228 ± 93, 214 ± 84, 180 ± 73, and 107 ± 45. Compared with 2019, March and April 2020 mean cases declined 15% (P = 0.003) and 49% (P = 0.002), respectively. COVID-19 affected surgical case volume for all programs; 75% reported didactics negatively affected, and 90% reported COVID-19 resulted in increased research time. Several neurosurgery residents required COVID-19 testing; however, to our knowledge, only 1 resident from the participating programs tested positive. CONCLUSIONS: This study documents a significant reduction in operative volume in 8 neurosurgery residency training programs in early 2020. During this time, neurosurgery residents engaged in online didactics and research-related activities, reporting increased research productivity. Residency programs should collect data to determine the educational impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on residents' operative case volumes, identify deficiencies, and develop plans to mitigate any effects.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neurosurgery/education , Pandemics , COVID-19 Testing , Education, Medical, Graduate/statistics & numerical data , Elective Surgical Procedures , Humans , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional , Internship and Residency , Research , Retrospective Studies , Spine/surgery , Surveys and Questionnaires , United States
8.
World Neurosurg ; 139: e859-e863, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-367037

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus 2019 (COVD-19) pandemic has drastically disrupted the delivery of neurosurgical care, especially for the already at-risk neuro-oncology population. The sudden change to clinic visits has rapidly spurned the implementation of telemedicine. A recommendation care paradigm of neuro-oncologic patients limited by telemedicine has not been reported. METHODS: A summary of a multi-institution experience detailing the potential benefits, pitfalls, and the necessary considerations to outpatient care of neurosurgical oncology patients. RESULTS: There are limitations and advantages to incorporating telemedicine into the outpatient care of neuro-oncology patients. Telemedicine-specific considerations for each step and stakeholder of the appointment (physician, patient, scheduling, previsit, imaging, and physical examination) are examined. CONCLUSIONS: Telemedicine, pushed to prominence during this COVID-19 pandemic, is a powerful and possibly preferential tool for the future of outpatient neuro-oncologic care.


Subject(s)
Ambulatory Surgical Procedures/trends , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/surgery , Medical Oncology/trends , Neurosurgery/trends , Pneumonia, Viral/surgery , Telemedicine/trends , Ambulatory Surgical Procedures/standards , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Forecasting , Humans , Medical Oncology/standards , Neurosurgery/standards , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine/standards
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