Study Finds In-Person Examinations Have Little Impact On Virtual Urological Surgey Planning

According to a recent study, in-person examinations had little impact on virtual surgical planning for urology patients who visited via video visits, with the exception of several urologic disorders. In conducting the study, the researchers wanted to determine if the use of video visits and the absence of a physical examination beforehand affected the preparation 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 institution during March and May 2020. Procedural plan concordance, which is the percentage of video visit surgical plans that remained unaltered after an in-person visit, served as the primary unit of measurement.

Of the entire population, 195 people (one third of patients) had a video visit for an initial examination and a procedure planned. 186 of the 195 patients had concordant plans after an in-person examination, meaning the surgical plan remained the same. Additionally, 91 percent of operating room procedures and nearly all office procedures’ intentions remained unaltered.4 of the 186 patients with concordant plans had their surgical procedures changed as a result of clinical course modifications, two because of further imaging, and three because of genitourinary examination results. Finally, researchers found that discordant individuals had longer intervals between video visits and in-person examinations than concordant cases did.

Therefore, researchers came to the conclusion that the surgical plans created during new patient video visits were not significantly impacted by the in-person examination. However, the researchers did determine that a genitourinary examination can be very helpful in determining the surgical strategy for a number of urologic disorders. Additionally, operative planning may also vary if the clinical or imaging course is altered. “The majority of surgical plans developed during new patient video visits remain unchanged after in-person examination. Meanwhile, our findings support relying on the genitourinary examination to dictate the surgical approach in a subset of urologic conditions (eg, penile cancer)”, the researchers concluded. “By virtue of this approach, we hope to highlight to providers, insurers, and policymakers that surgical planning for new patients can take place virtually, hopefully improving access to urologic surgical care.”