HumanInsight Accuracy of Telemedicine Consultations in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic
J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2022 Sep 22:S0278-2391(22)00903-X. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2022.09.016. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Telemedicine has been an emerging trend over the past few years and has seen an exponential rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the present study was to determine the accuracy of planned oral surgery treatment for patients seen initially by telemedicine in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery during the pandemic.
METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study. Record review of all patients who received telemedicine consultations during the pandemic time frame of March 1, 2020, to March 1, 2021, was performed. The primary outcome was to confirm the accuracy of the planned oral surgery treatment. Accuracy was defined as the ability to conduct the planned surgery with chosen anesthesia (local anesthesia, valium + local anesthesia, intra venous sedation, general anesthesia) at the immediate follow-up appointment without the need for further preoperative testing, evaluation, and consultation. The secondary outcomes were to determine the change in surgical plan, anesthesia plan, and medical plan. Predictor variables included age at the time of telemedicine consultation, gender, race, ethnicity, and the type of consult. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were executed.
RESULTS: The study sample comprised 286 (64.56%) females and 157 (35.44%) males. The age range of the study population was 9 to 92 years, with a mean age of 33.88 years (standard deviation = 16.29 years). In the cohort of 443 patients who obtained telemedicine consultations, 98.19% were successfully treated at the following appointment. Four hundred thirty-one (97.3%) out of the 443 telemedicine consults were pertaining to dentoalveolar concerns. Logistic regression analysis showed that neither age nor gender has significant effects on the change of surgical and anesthesia plans.
CONCLUSIONS: Telemedicine can be effectively utilized in performing consultations for routine oral surgical procedures, especially dentoalveolar surgeries. Besides, a preoperative assessment to determine anesthesia and setting of care can also be determined during telemedicine consultations. However, given the lack of control group and the observational nature of this study, the results must be interpreted with caution.
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