A recent study conducted for Health Services Research revealed surgery plans for urology patients who were seen through video visit were not affected by surgery plans made during in-person appointments. This information applies in most cases, with the exception of individuals who suffer from one of several urological conditions.
In this study, researchers sought to ascertain whether the use of video visitation and the absence of a preceding in-person physical assessment affected the planning of urological surgery. The research’s data consisted of 590 consecutive urological patients who took part in new patient video visits at a single academic location between March and May 2020. Of the whole population, 195 people or 33% had a video visit for an initial examination and a procedure planned. 186 or 95% of the 195 patients in this group had concordant plans after an in-person assessment, meaning the surgical plan remained the same. Additionally, 91 percent of operating room procedures and over 99% office procedures’ goals remained unaltered. Out of the 186 patients who had concordant plans, just over two percent had surgical procedures that required change because of clinical course adjustments, two as a result of additional imaging, and three as a result of genitourinary examination findings. Researchers also discovered that for discordant cases as opposed to concordant cases, the number of days between a video visit and an in-person evaluation had a greater impact From this, researchers involved in carrying out the study concluded that the surgical plans created during new patient video visits were not significantly impacted by the physical examination. However, the genitourinary examination can be very helpful in determining the surgical strategy for several urologic disorders. Operative planning may also vary if the clinical or imaging course is altered.
Researchers stated “Overall, these data support the reliability of [new patient] telehealth surgical plans in the absence of a physical examination. More importantly, this study promotes a better understanding of factors contributing to changes in the plan.”
It was also noted that several limitations to the accuracy of the study were present. These included:
- a small sample sizes
- the existence of biases in urology subspecialties
- a limited understanding of already existing information
- the design of the study