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Telemedicine in orthopaedics and trauma surgery during the first year of COVID pandemic: a systematic review

HumanInsight Telemedicine in orthopaedics and trauma surgery during the first year of COVID pandemic: a systematic review

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2023 Feb 7;24(1):101. doi: 10.1186/s12891-023-06194-3.


PURPOSE: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine in orthopaedics and trauma surgery had mostly developed for joint arthroplasty, fracture management, and general pre- and postoperative care including teleradiology. With the corona-outbreak, telemedicine was applied on a broad scale to prevent assemblage and to guarantee access to medical care protecting critical areas. The purpose of the present study was to give an overview of the spectrum of clinical applications and the efficacy of telemedicine in orthopaedic and trauma surgery as published in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

METHODS: All published studies investigating the application of telemedicine related to orthopaedics and trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic were accessed and screened for suitability. The primary outcome of interest was the efficacy of telemedicine in various clinical applications. The secondary outcome of interest was the spectrum of different applications in which telemedicine applications were investigated.

RESULTS: The literature search resulted in 1047 articles. After the removal of duplicates, 894 articles were screened of which 31 finally met the inclusion criteria. Dimensions that were described by studies in the literature to have positive effects were preoperative patient optimisation, the usefulness of telemedicine to correctly diagnose a condition, conservative treatment, willingness to and feasibility for telemedicine in patients and doctors, and postoperative/post-trauma care improvement. The efficacy of telemedicine applications or interventions thereby strongly varied and seemed to depend on the exact study design and the research question addressed.

CONCLUSION: Various successful applications of telemedicine have already been reported in orthopaedics and trauma surgery, with a strong increase in scientific output during the COVID-19 years 2020-2021. Whether the advantages of such an approach will lead to a relevant implementation of telemedicine in everyday clinical practice should be monitored after the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:36750962 | DOI:10.1186/s12891-023-06194-3

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