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Ravi Sharma, Varidh Katiyar, Priya Narwal, Shashank S. Kale, and Ashish Suri

OBJECTIVE

The longer learning curve and smaller margin of error make nontraditional, or "out of operating room" simulation training, essential in neurosurgery. In this study, the authors propose an evaluation system for residents combining both task-based and procedure-based exercises and also present the perception of residents regarding its utility.

METHODS

Residents were evaluated using a combination of task-based and virtual reality (VR)–based exercises. The results were analyzed in terms of the seniority of the residents as well as their laboratory credits. Questionnaire-based feedback was sought from the residents regarding the utility of this evaluation system incorporating the VR-based exercises.

RESULTS

A total of 35 residents were included in this study and were divided into 3 groups according to seniority. There were 11 residents in groups 1 and 3 and 13 residents in group 2. On the overall assessment of microsuturing skills including both 4-0 and 10-0 microsuturing, the suturing skills of groups 2 and 3 were observed to be better than those of group 1 (p = 0.0014). Additionally, it was found that microsuturing scores improved significantly with the increasing laboratory credits (R2 = 0.72, p < 0.001), and this was found to be the most significant for group 1 residents (R2 = 0.85, p < 0.001). Group 3 residents performed significantly better than the other two groups in both straight (p = 0.02) and diagonal (p = 0.042) ring transfer tasks, but there was no significant difference between group 1 and group 2 residents (p = 0.35). Endoscopic evaluation points were also found to be positively correlated with previous laboratory training (p = 0.002); however, for the individual seniority groups, the correlation failed to reach statistical significance. The 3 seniority groups performed similarly in the cranial and spinal VR modules. Group 3 residents showed significant disagreement with the utility of the VR platform for improving surgical dexterity (p = 0.027) and improving the understanding of surgical procedures (p = 0.034). Similarly, there was greater disagreement for VR-based evaluation to identify target areas of improvement among the senior residents (groups 2 and 3), but it did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.194).

CONCLUSIONS

The combination of task- and procedure-based assessment of trainees using physical and VR simulation models can supplement the existing neurosurgery curriculum. The currently available VR-based simulations are useful in the early years of training, but they need significant improvement to offer beneficial learning opportunities to senior trainees.

Free access

Narendra Kumar, Varidh Katiyar, Kokkula Praneeth, Ravi Sharma, Priya Narwal, Amol Raheja, Vivek Tandon, Shashwat Mishra, Kanwaljeet Garg, Ashish Suri, P. Sarat Chandra, and Shashank S. Kale

OBJECTIVE

The adoption of telemedicine became a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic because patients found commuting to be difficult owing to travel restrictions. Initially, audio-based teleconsultations were provided. Later, on the basis of the feedback of patients and caregivers, the authors started to provide video-based teleconsultations via WhatsApp. The authors subsequently surveyed the patients and caregivers to determine their satisfaction levels with telemedicine services.

METHODS

An anonymized telephone survey of patients who had participated in teleconsultation was conducted with a structured questionnaire. The responses were analyzed and their correlations with the perceived benefits and limitations of audio and video teleconsultation were determined.

RESULTS

Three hundred respondents were included in the first round of surveys, of whom 250 (83.3%) consented to video teleconsultation. Among the respondents who participated in both audio and video teleconsultations (n = 250), paired analysis showed that video teleconsultation was perceived as better in terms of providing easier access to healthcare services (p < 0.001), saving time (p < 0.001), and satisfaction with the way patient needs were conveyed to healthcare providers (p = 0.023), as well as in terms of adequacy of addressing healthcare needs (p < 0.001) and consequently providing a higher rate of overall satisfaction (p < 0.001). For both audio and video teleconsultation, overall patient satisfaction was significantly related to only previous exposure to WhatsApp. However, for video consultation, longer call duration (p = 0.023) was an important independent factor. Video teleconsultation was preferable to face-to-face consultation irrespective of educational status, but higher education was associated with preference for video teleconsultation.

CONCLUSIONS

Both audio and video teleconsultation are viable cost-effective surrogates for in-person physical neurosurgical consultation. Although audio teleconsultation is more user-friendly and is not restricted by educational status, video teleconsultation trumps the former owing to a more efficient and satisfactory doctor-to-patient interface.