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1.
Spine (Phila Pa 1976) ; 47(8): 583-590, 2022 Apr 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1672307

ABSTRACT

STUDY DESIGN: Delphi expert panel consensus. OBJECTIVE: To obtain expert consensus on best practices for appropriate telemedicine utilization in spine surgery. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Several studies have shown high patient satisfaction associated with telemedicine during the COVID-19 peak pandemic period as well as after easing of restrictions. As this technology will most likely continue to be employed, there is a need to define appropriate utilization. METHODS: An expert panel consisting of 27 spine surgeons from various countries was assembled in February 2021. A two-round consensus-based Delphi method was used to generate consensus statements on various aspects of telemedicine (separated as video visits or audio visits) including themes, such as patient location and impact of patient diagnosis, on assessment of new patients. Topics with ≥75% agreement were categorized as having achieved a consensus. RESULTS: The expert panel reviewed a total of 59 statements. Of these, 32 achieved consensus. The panel had consensus that video visits could be utilized regardless of patient location and that video visits are appropriate for evaluating as well as indicating for surgery multiple common spine pathologies, such as lumbar stenosis, lumbar radiculopathy, and cervical radiculopathy. Finally, the panel had consensus that video visits could be appropriate for a variety of visit types including early, midterm, longer term postoperative follow-up, follow-up for imaging review, and follow-up after an intervention (i.e., physical therapy, injection). CONCLUSION: Although telemedicine was initially introduced out of necessity, this technology most likely will remain due to evidence of high patient satisfaction and significant cost savings. This study was able to provide a framework for appropriate telemedicine utilization in spine surgery from a panel of experts. However, several questions remain for future research, such as whether or not an in-person consultation is necessary prior to surgery and which physical exam maneuvers are appropriate for telemedicine.Level of Evidence: 4.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , COVID-19/epidemiology , Consensus , Delphi Technique , Humans , Patient Satisfaction
2.
Eur Spine J ; 30(8): 2109-2123, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432544

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To utilize data from a global spine surgeon survey to elucidate (1) overall confidence in the telemedicine evaluation and (2) determinants of provider confidence. METHODS: Members of AO Spine International were sent a survey encompassing participant's experience with, perception of, and comparison of telemedicine to in-person visits. The survey was designed through a Delphi approach, with four rounds of question review by the multi-disciplinary authors. Data were stratified by provider age, experience, telemedicine platform, trust in telemedicine, and specialty. RESULTS: Four hundred and eighty-five surgeons participated in the survey. The global effort included respondents from Africa (19.9%), Asia Pacific (19.7%), Europe (24.3%), North America (9.4%), and South America (26.6%). Providers felt that physical exam-based tasks (e.g., provocative testing, assessing neurologic deficits/myelopathy, etc.) were inferior to in-person exams, while communication-based aspects (e.g., history taking, imaging review, etc.) were equivalent. Participants who performed greater than 50 visits were more likely to believe telemedicine was at least equivalent to in-person visits in the ability to make an accurate diagnosis (OR 2.37, 95% C.I. 1.03-5.43). Compared to in-person encounters, video (versus phone only) visits were associated with increased confidence in the ability of telemedicine to formulate and communicate a treatment plan (OR 3.88, 95% C.I. 1.71-8.84). CONCLUSION: Spine surgeons are confident in the ability of telemedicine to communicate with patients, but are concerned about its capacity to accurately make physical exam-based diagnoses. Future research should concentrate on standardizing the remote examination and the development of appropriate use criteria in order to increase provider confidence in telemedicine technology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Surgeons , Telemedicine , Humans , Spine , Surveys and Questionnaires
3.
Eur Spine J ; 30(8): 2124-2132, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064507

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: While telemedicine usage has increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains little consensus about how spine surgeons perceive virtual care. The purpose of this study was to explore international perspectives of spine providers on the challenges and benefits of telemedicine. METHODS: Responses from 485 members of AO Spine were analyzed, covering provider perceptions of the challenges and benefits of telemedicine. All questions were optional, and blank responses were excluded from analysis. RESULTS: The leading challenges reported by surgeons were decreased ability to perform physical examinations (38.6%), possible increased medicolegal exposure (19.3%), and lack of reimbursement parity compared to traditional visits (15.5%). Fewer than 9.0% of respondents experienced technological issues. On average, respondents agreed that telemedicine increases access to care for rural/long-distance patients, provides societal cost savings, and increases patient convenience. Responses were mixed about whether telemedicine leads to greater patient satisfaction. North Americans experienced the most challenges, but also thought telemedicine carried the most benefits, whereas Africans reported the fewest challenges and benefits. Age did not affect responses. CONCLUSION: Spine surgeons are supportive of the benefits of telemedicine, and only a small minority experienced technical issues. The decreased ability to perform the physical examination was the top challenge and remains a major obstacle to virtual care for spine surgeons around the world, although interestingly, 61.4% of providers did not acknowledge this to be a major challenge. Significant groundwork in optimizing remote physical examination maneuvers and achieving legal and reimbursement clarity is necessary for widespread implementation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Surgeons , Telemedicine , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Perception , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Eur Spine J ; 30(8): 2133-2142, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033266

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The COVID-19 pandemic forced many surgeons to adopt "virtual medicine" practices, defined as telehealth services for patient care and online platforms for continuing medical education. The purpose of this study was to assess spine surgeon reliance on virtual medicine during the pandemic and to discuss the future of virtual medicine in spine surgery. METHODS: A comprehensive survey addressing demographic data and virtual medicine practices was distributed to spine surgeons worldwide between March 27, 2020, and April 4, 2020. RESULTS: 902 spine surgeons representing seven global regions responded. 35.6% of surgeons were identified as "high telehealth users," conducting more than half of clinic visits virtually. Predictors of high telehealth utilization included working in an academic practice (OR = 1.68, p = 0.0015) and practicing in Europe/North America (OR 3.42, p < 0.0001). 80.1% of all surgeons were interested in online education. Dedicating more than 25% of one's practice to teaching (OR = 1.89, p = 0.037) predicted increased interest in online education. 26.2% of respondents were identified as "virtual medicine surgeons," defined as surgeons with both high telehealth usage and increased interest in online education. Living in Europe/North America and practicing in an academic practice increased odds of being a virtual medicine surgeon by 2.28 (p = 0.002) and 1.15 (p = 0.0082), respectively. 93.8% of surgeons reported interest in a centralized platform facilitating surgeon-to-surgeon communication. CONCLUSION: COVID-19 has changed spine surgery by triggering rapid adoption of virtual medicine practices. The demonstrated global interest in virtual medicine suggests that it may become part of the "new normal" for surgeons in the post-pandemic era.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Spine
5.
Eur Spine J ; 29(11): 2852, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-746146

ABSTRACT

Unfortunately, the 13th author name has been incorrectly published in the original publication. The complete correct name is given below.

6.
JOR Spine ; 3(4): e1122, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-734153

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted spine care around the globe. Much uncertainty remains regarding the immediate and long-term future of spine care and education in this COVID-19 era. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional, international study of spine surgeons. METHODS: A multi-dimensional survey was distributed to spine surgeons around the world. A total of 73 questions were asked regarding demographics, COVID-19 observations, personal impact, effect on education, adoption of telemedicine, and anticipated challenges moving forward. Multivariate analysis was performed to assess factors related to likelihood of future conference attendance, future online education, and changes in surgical indications. RESULTS: A total of 902 spine surgeons from seven global regions completed the survey. Respondents reported a mean level of overall concern of 3.7 on a scale of one to five. 84.0% reported a decrease in clinical duties, and 67.0% reported a loss in personal income. The 82.5% reported being interested in continuing a high level of online education moving forward. Respondents who personally knew someone who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to be unwilling to attend a medical conference 1 year from now (OR: 0.61, 95% CI: [0.39, 0.95], P = .029). The 20.0% reported they plan to pursue an increased degree of nonoperative measures prior to surgery 1 year from now, and respondents with a spouse at home (OR: 3.55, 95% CI: [1.14, 11.08], P = .029) or who spend a large percentage of their time teaching (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: [1.02, 2.07], P = .040) were more likely to adopt this practice. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on surgeon teaching, clinical volume, and personal income. In the future, surgeons with family and those personally affected by COVID-19 may be more willing to alter surgical indications and change education and conference plans. Anticipating these changes may help the spine community appropriately plan for future challenges.

8.
Global Spine J ; 12(2): 249-262, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696926

ABSTRACT

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational cohort study. OBJECTIVE: To investigate preparation, response, and economic impact of COVID-19 on private, public, academic, and privademic spine surgeons. METHODS: AO Spine COVID-19 and Spine Surgeon Global Impact Survey includes domains on surgeon demographics, location of practice, type of practice, COVID-19 perceptions, institutional preparedness and response, personal and practice impact, and future perceptions. The survey was distributed by AO Spine via email to members (n = 3805). Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify differences between practice settings. RESULTS: A total of 902 surgeons completed the survey. In all, 45.4% of respondents worked in an academic setting, 22.9% in privademics, 16.1% in private practice, and 15.6% in public hospitals. Academic practice setting was independently associated with performing elective and emergent spine surgeries at the time of survey distribution. A majority of surgeons reported a >75% decrease in case volume. Private practice and privademic surgeons reported losing income at a higher rate compared with academic or public surgeons. Practice setting was associated with personal protective equipment availability and economic issues as a source of stress. CONCLUSIONS: The current study indicates that practice setting affected both preparedness and response to COVID-19. Surgeons in private and privademic practices reported increased worry about the economic implications of the current crisis compared with surgeons in academic and public hospitals. COVID-19 decreased overall clinical productivity, revenue, and income. Government response to the current pandemic and preparation for future pandemics needs to be adaptable to surgeons in all practice settings.

10.
Neurospine ; 17(2): 313-330, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-631624

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To determine if personal health of spine surgeons worldwide influences perceptions, healthcare delivery, and decision-making during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed by distributing a multidimensional survey to spine surgeons worldwide. Questions addressed demographics, impacts and perceptions of COVID-19, and the presence of surgeon comorbidities, which included cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, respiratory illness, renal disease, and current tobacco use. Multivariate analysis was performed to identify specific comorbidities that influenced various impact measures. RESULTS: Across 7 global regions, 36.8% out of 902 respondents reported a comorbidity, of which hypertension (21.9%) and obesity (15.6%) were the most common. Multivariate analysis noted tobacco users were more likely to continue performing elective surgery during the pandemic (odds ratio [OR], 2.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.46-4.72; p = 0.001) and were less likely to utilize telecommunication (OR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.31-0.86; p = 0.011), whereas those with hypertension were less likely to warn their patients should the surgeon become infected with COVID-19 (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.37-0.91; p = 0.017). Clinicians with multiple comorbidities were more likely to cite personal health as a current stressor (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.07-1.63; p = 0.009) and perceived their hospital's management unfavorably (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.60-0.91; p = 0.005). CONCLUSION: This is the first study to have mapped global variations of personal health of spine surgeons, key in the development for future wellness and patient management initiatives. This study underscored that spine surgeons worldwide are not immune to comorbidities, and their personal health influences various perceptions, healthcare delivery, and decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic.

11.
World Neurosurg ; 140: e373-e380, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-593961

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As of May 4, 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected >3.5 million people and touched every inhabited continent. Accordingly, it has stressed health systems worldwide, leading to the cancellation of elective surgical cases and discussions regarding health care resource rationing. It is expected that rationing of surgical resources will continue even after the pandemic peak and may recur with future pandemics, creating a need for a means of triaging patients for emergent and elective spine surgery. METHODS: Using a modified Delphi technique, a cohort of 16 fellowship-trained spine surgeons from 10 academic medical centers constructed a scoring system for the triage and prioritization of emergent and elective spine surgeries. Three separate rounds of videoconferencing and written correspondence were used to reach a final scoring system. Sixteen test cases were used to optimize the scoring system so that it could categorize cases as requiring emergent, urgent, high-priority elective, or low-priority elective scheduling. RESULTS: The devised scoring system included 8 independent components: neurologic status, underlying spine stability, presentation of a high-risk postoperative complication, patient medical comorbidities, expected hospital course, expected discharge disposition, facility resource limitations, and local disease burden. The resultant calculator was deployed as a freely available Web-based calculator (https://jhuspine3.shinyapps.io/SpineUrgencyCalculator/). CONCLUSIONS: We present the first quantitative urgency scoring system for the triage and prioritizing of spine surgery cases in resource-limited settings. We believe that our scoring system, although not all encompassing, has potential value as a guide for triaging spine surgical cases during the COVID pandemic and post-COVID period.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections , Elective Surgical Procedures , Health Care Rationing , Pandemics , Patient Selection , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Decision Making , Elective Surgical Procedures/methods , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Triage/methods
12.
Eur Spine J ; 29(8): 1789-1805, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-526685

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Spine surgeons around the world have been universally impacted by COVID-19. The current study addressed whether prior experience with disease epidemics among the spine surgeon community had an impact on preparedness and response toward COVID-19. METHODS: A 73-item survey was distributed to spine surgeons worldwide via AO Spine. Questions focused on: demographics, COVID-19 preparedness, response, and impact. Respondents with and without prior epidemic experience (e.g., SARS, H1NI, MERS) were assessed on preparedness and response via univariate and multivariate modeling. Results of the survey were compared against the Global Health Security Index. RESULTS: Totally, 902 surgeons from 7 global regions completed the survey. 24.2% of respondents had prior experience with global health crises. Only 49.6% reported adequate access to personal protective equipment. There were no differences in preparedness reported by respondents with prior epidemic exposure. Government and hospital responses were fairly consistent around the world. Prior epidemic experience did not impact the presence of preparedness guidelines. There were subtle differences in sources of stress, coping strategies, performance of elective surgeries, and impact on income driven by prior epidemic exposure. 94.7% expressed a need for formal, international guidelines to help mitigate the impact of the current and future pandemics. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to note that prior experience with infectious disease crises did not appear to help spine surgeons prepare for the current COVID-19 pandemic. Based on survey results, the GHSI was not an effective measure of COVID-19 preparedness. Formal international guidelines for crisis preparedness are needed to mitigate future pandemics.


Subject(s)
Attitude of Health Personnel , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Orthopedic Surgeons , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , Spine/surgery , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Female , Global Health , Humans , Linear Models , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Practice Guidelines as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
13.
Global Spine J ; 10(5): 534-552, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-186487

ABSTRACT

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional, international survey. OBJECTIVES: The current study addressed the multi-dimensional impact of COVID-19 upon healthcare professionals, particularly spine surgeons, worldwide. Secondly, it aimed to identify geographical variations and similarities. METHODS: A multi-dimensional survey was distributed to surgeons worldwide. Questions were categorized into domains: demographics, COVID-19 observations, preparedness, personal impact, patient care, and future perceptions. RESULTS: 902 spine surgeons representing 7 global regions completed the survey. 36.8% reported co-morbidities. Of those that underwent viral testing, 15.8% tested positive for COVID-19, and testing likelihood was region-dependent; however, 7.2% would not disclose their infection to their patients. Family health concerns were greatest stressor globally (76.0%), with anxiety levels moderately high. Loss of income, clinical practice and current surgical management were region-dependent, whereby 50.4% indicated personal-protective-equipment were not adequate. 82.3% envisioned a change in their clinical practice as a result of COVID-19. More than 33% of clinical practice was via telemedicine. Research output and teaching/training impact was similar globally. 96.9% were interested in online medical education. 94.7% expressed a need for formal, international guidelines to manage COVID-19 patients. CONCLUSIONS: In this first, international study to assess the impact of COVID-19 on surgeons worldwide, we identified overall/regional variations and infection rate. The study raises awareness of the needs and challenges of surgeons that will serve as the foundation to establish interventions and guidelines to face future public health crises.

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