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The diagnostic test accuracy of telemedicine for detection of surgical site infection: A systematic review protocol

HumanInsight The diagnostic test accuracy of telemedicine for detection of surgical site infection: A systematic review protocol

PLoS One. 2022 Nov 17;17(11):e0263549. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263549. eCollection 2022.


Since the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a rapid uptake and utilisation of telemedicine in all aspects of healthcare. This presents a key opportunity in surgical site infection surveillance. Remote follow up methods have been used via telephone, with photographs and questionnaires for post-operative reviews with varying results. This review therefore aims to comprehensively synthesise available evidence for the diagnostic accuracy of all forms of SSI telemedicine monitoring. The protocol has been established as per both PRISMA-P (S1 Table) and the Cochrane handbook for reviews of diagnostic test accuracy. Medline, Embase, CENTRAL and CINAHL will be searched using a complete search strategy developed with librarian input, in addition to google scholar and hand searching. All study designs with patients over 18 and undergone a primarily closed surgical procedure will be eligible. Index tests will include all forms of telemedicine and a subgroup analysis performed for each of these. Comparative tests must include face to face review, and all reference standards will be included again for sub-group analyses. Search results will be screened by two investigators independently with a third providing consensus review on disagreements. Methodological quality will be assessed using the QUADAS-2 tool, first validated by two investigators as per the Cochrane handbook. Exploratory analysis will formulate summary receiver operating characteristic curves and forest plots with estimates of sensitivity and specificity of the included studies. Sources of heterogeneity will be identifying and investigated through further analysis. Potential benefits of telemedicine integration in surgical practice will reduce cost and travel time to patients in addition to avoiding wasted clinic appointments, important considerations in a peri-pandemic era. To avoid missed or further complications, there must be confidence in the ability to diagnose infection. This review will systematically determine whether telemedicine is accurate for surgical site infection diagnosis, which methods are well established and if further research is indicated.

PMID:36395267 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0263549

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