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The use of telemedicine in pre-surgical evaluation: a retrospective cohort study of a neurosurgical oncology practice

HumanInsight The use of telemedicine in pre-surgical evaluation: a retrospective cohort study of a neurosurgical oncology practice

J Neurooncol. 2022 Jul 28. doi: 10.1007/s11060-022-04102-8. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: To determine if there was a discrepancy between telemedicine versus in-person New Patient Visits (NPVs) regarding the conversion rate to operative and radiosurgery cases at a tertiary surgical neuro-oncology practice.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was performed of patients who had an outpatient encounter with a neurosurgeon from the Tumor Division at our institution's Department of Neurosurgery between February 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021. NPVs during this period were registered as either telemedicine or in-person appointments. The primary endpoint of the study was to compare the rate at which telemedicine NPVs and in-person NPVs underwent surgery or radiosurgery, reported as the surgical conversion rate.

RESULTS: A total of 206 patients were included in this study. Of them, 119 (57.8%) were seen using telemedicine and 87 (42.2%) were seen in clinic via an in-person visit. A total of 70 (34%) of all patients underwent surgery or radiosurgery. Of the 119 patients seen via telemedicine, 40 (33.6%) underwent surgery or radiosurgery; during the same period, 87 NPVs were conducted in person and 30 (34.5%, p = 1.0) received an intervention. Further stratification revealed no differences between the two groups across measured criteria including diagnosis, number of pre-operative visits, elapsed time from appointment to surgery, follow-up visits, and distance from home address to neurosurgical clinic.

CONCLUSION: Telemedicine NPVs did not differ significantly from in-person NPVs when evaluating the likelihood of a new patient committing to surgical treatment. This study provides quantifiable evidence that telemedicine is an effective means of meeting new patients and planning complex neurosurgical interventions.

PMID:35900618 | DOI:10.1007/s11060-022-04102-8

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