The Critical Care Resource Nurse Team (CCRNT) evolved from our traditional Rapid Response Team (RRT). The CCRNT is a unique paradigm created using the conceptual framework of the American Association of Critical Care Nursing Synergy Model for Patient Care. The goal of the CCRNT is to help align nurse competencies with patient needs. This team was seen as a much-needed strong clinical support by nursing leadership as large numbers of inexperienced new graduate registered nurses were hired and senior experienced nurses were leaving the workforce. The CCRNT supports 24/7 RRT, Code Blue, Code Stroke, Emergency Airway Response Team, Early Warning System, Medical Emergency Team, simulation team training, and bedside nurse support and mentoring. Coverage expanded from inpatient medical/surgical areas to all areas of the medical center and included hospital-wide initiatives. The focus for the CCRNT changed to a system-wide nursing and patient safety model to improve practice and intervene in near-miss events. This model improved communication between disciplines, provided critical surveillance of at-risk patients, supported patient safety with a significant decrease in patient mortality, and offered a 24/7 expert critical care nurse resource team for staff.
Background The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has well-established positive impacts on child health outcomes, including increased birth weight and decreased likelihood of underweight status. Studies in adult populations suggest that SNAP is associated with lower health care costs, although less is known in children. Methods Retrospective analysis of U.S. children (age <18 years) living in low-income households (< 200% of the federal poverty level) in the 2013-2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. We used multivariable regression, adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical covariates, to model the effect of continuous SNAP enrollment on health expenditures as compared to non-enrollees at 12 and 24 months. Results The sample included 5,626 children, of whom 49.2% consistently received SNAP for the entire two-year survey period. Compared with SNAP non-recipients, SNAP-recipient households more often had incomes below 100% FPL (78.3% vs 37.9%), and children in SNAP-recipient households were more often publicly insured (94.9% vs 64.5%). Unadjusted expenditures were lower for children in SNAP-recipient households at 12 ($1222 vs $1603) and 24 months ($2447 vs $3009). However, when adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical differences, no statistically significant differences in health care expenditures, including emergency department, inpatient, outpatient, and prescription costs, were identified. Conclusion SNAP participant children experience heightened social hardships across multiple domains. There were no differences in short term health care costs based on SNAP enrollment when accounting for differences in sociodemographic and clinical factors. Despite demonstrated child health benefits, we found that sustained enrollment in SNAP over a two-year period did not generate significant short- term health care cost reductions. Our findings suggest that although SNAP is intended to act as a benefit towards the health and well-being of its recipients, unlike among adults, it may not reduce health care costs among children.
Background: The coronavirus pandemic continues to shake the embedded structures of traditional in-person education across all learning levels and across the globe. In healthcare simulation, the pandemic tested the innovative and technological capabilities of simulation programs, educators, operations staff, and administration. This study aimed to answer the question: What is the state of distance simulation practice in 2021? Methods: This was an IRB-approved, 34-item open survey for any profession involved in healthcare simulation disseminated widely and internationally in seven languages from January 14, 2021, to March 3, 2021. Development followed a multistep process of expert design, testing, piloting, translation, and recruitment. The survey asked questions to understand: Who was using distance simulation? What driving factors motivated programs to initiate distance sim? For what purposes was distance sim being used? What specific types or modalities of distance simulation were occurring? How was it being used (i.e., modalities, blending of technology and resources and location)? How did the early part of the pandemic differ from the latter half of 2020 and early 2021? What information would best support future distance simulation education? Data were cleaned, compiled, and analyzed for dichotomized responses, reporting frequencies, proportions, as well as a comparison of response proportions. Results: From 32 countries, 618 respondents were included in the analysis. The findings included insights into the prevalence of distance simulation before, during, and after the pandemic; drivers for using distance simulation; methods and modalities of distance simulation; and staff training. The majority of respondents (70%) reported that their simulation center was conducting distance simulation. Significantly more respondents indicated long-term plans for maintaining a hybrid format (82%), relative to going back to in-person simulation (11%, p < 0.001). Conclusion: This study gives a perspective into the rapid adaptation of the healthcare simulation community towards distance teaching and learning in reaction to a radical and quick change in education conditions and environment caused by COVID-19, as well as future directions to pursue understanding and support of distance simulation.
Background Opioid use disorders (OUD), co-occurring with either depression and/or PTSD, are prevalent, burdensome, and often receive little or low-quality care. Collaborative care is a service delivery intervention that uses a team-based model to improve treatment access, quality, and outcomes in primary care patients, but has not been evaluated for co-occurring OUD and mental health disorders. To address this treatment and quality gap, we adapted collaborative care for co-occurring OUD and mental health disorders. Methods Our adapted model is called Collaboration Leading to Addiction Treatment and Recovery from Other Stresses (CLARO). We used the five-step Map of Adaptation Process (McKleroy in AIDS Educ Prev 18:59–73, 2006) to develop the model. For each step, our stakeholder team of research and clinical experts, primary care partners, and patients provided input into adaptation processes (e.g., adaptation team meetings, clinic partner feedback, patient interviews and beta-testing). To document each adaptation and our decision-making process, we used the Framework for Reporting Adaptations and Modifications-Enhanced (Wiltsey Stirman in Implement Sci 14:1–10, 2019). Results We documented 12 planned fidelity-consistent adaptations to collaborative care, including a mix of content, context, and training/evaluation modifications intended to improve fit with the patient population (co-occurring disorders) or the New Mexico setting (low-resource clinics in health professional shortage areas). Examples of documented adaptations include use of community health workers as care coordinators; an expanded consultant team to support task-shifting to community health workers; modified training protocols for Problem-Solving Therapy and Written Exposure Therapy to incorporate examples of treating patients for depression or PTSD with co-occurring OUD; and having care coordinators screen for patients’ social needs. Conclusions We completed the first three steps of the Map of Adaptation Process, resulting in a variety of adaptations that we believe will make collaborative care more acceptable and feasible in treating co-occurring OUD and mental health disorders. Future steps include evaluating the effectiveness of CLARO and documenting reactive and/or planned adaptations to the model that occur during its implementation and delivery. Trial registration NCT04559893, NCT04634279. Registered 08 September 2020, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04559893
Background: While associations between cannabis and cocaine use, and heavy drinking and quality of life (QOL), are well-established in the general population, it is unclear whether they are present in hospital inpatients with alcohol use disorder (AUD). The aim of the study was to assess associations between cannabis and cocaine use and two outcomes [heavy drinking days (HDDs) and QOL] among hospital inpatients with AUD. Methods: Hospitalized patients with AUD and at least one past-month HDD participated in this cross-sectional study. Cannabis and cocaine use were assessed using the Alcohol, Smoking, and Substance Involvement Screening Test. HDDs were assessed using the Timeline Followback. QOL was assessed by the WHOQOL-BREF instrument. Multivariable regression models assessed associations. Results: Of 248 participants, 225 (91%) had severe AUD. There were no statistically significant associations between: recent cannabis use and HDDs [Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) = 0.95; 95% Confidence Interval (95% CI): 0.80, 1.14], cocaine use and HDDs [IRR = 0.88; 95% CI: 0.66, 1.18], or both cannabis and cocaine use and HDDs [IRR = 0.87; 95%CI: 0.70, 1.09], as compared to use of neither cannabis nor cocaine. Use of cannabis, cocaine, and both, were not associated with QOL [(odds ratio (OR) = 0.98; 95% CI:0.55, 1.74), (OR = 0.76; 95% CI:0.30, 1.93), (OR = 1.00; 95%CI: 0.49, 2.03), respectively]. Conclusions: Among hospital inpatients with AUD, there were no significant associations between cannabis and cocaine use, heavy drinking, or QOL. Our findings raise questions regarding how drug use affects AUD and whether similar results would be found among those with milder AUD and in prospective studies.
Background Patient navigation is an evidence-based intervention for reducing delays in oncology care among underserved populations. In order to address the financial sustainability of this intervention, information is needed on the cost of implementing patient navigation in diverse healthcare settings. Because patient navigation programs and care settings are highly variable, this paucity of cost data creates difficulties in identifying best practices and decisions about the feasibility of implementing navigation programs within a health care system. One barrier to collecting these cost data is the lack of assessment tools available to support patient navigation programs. These tools must be relevant to the wide variety of navigation activities that exist in health care settings, and be flexible enough to collect cost data important to stakeholders in fee-for-service and value-based care environments. Methods and results We present a novel approach and methods for assessing the cost of a patient navigation program implemented across six hospital systems to enhance timely entry and uptake of breast cancer care and treatment. These methods and tools were developed in partnership with breast oncology patient navigators and supervisors using principles of stakeholder engagement, with the goal of increasing usability and feasibility in the field. Conclusions This methodology can be used to strengthen cost analysis and assessment tools for other navigation programs for improving care and treatment for patients with chronic conditions. Trial registration NCT03514433
In this series of talks and the accompanying panel session, leaders from the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons discuss issues faced by Asian Americans and the importance of the role of mentors and allyship in professional development in the advancement of Asian Americans in leadership roles. Barriers, including the model minority myth, are addressed. The heterogeneity of the Asian American population and disparities in healthcare and in research, specifically as relates to Asian Americans, also are examined.
Introduction South Asia is responsible for more than 40% of the stroke burden and stroke mortality in the developing world. South Asia, which is home to one-fourth of the world's population, is the most densely populated and one of the poorest regions. The majority of patients in this region are unable to afford intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) for acute ischemic stroke (AIS). If low-dose alteplase proves effective and safe in South Asians, it may be a more cost-effective treatment option. Methods The study was conducted according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and meta-Analyses) guideline. Researchers searched PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar for English literature from 2005 to 2021. END, ENI, good functional outcome, SICH, and all-cause mortality were used to assess efficacy and safety. Results In the low-dose alteplase treated patients, different studies reported 32 to 57% ENI 24 h after IVT, and 7% to 9.7% END. At 3 months follow-up, good functional outcome was achieved by 48%–76.92% of low-dose alteplase treated patients. SICH rates ranged from 0% to 16.6% across studies. Asymptomatic ICH occurred in 5–14% of patients. The mortality rate in all included studies varied from none to 25%. Conclusion Our systematic review demonstrates that the use of low-dose alteplase for AIS in the South Asians offer comparable efficacy and reduced risk of SICH at a significantly lower cost than standard alteplase dose. Future well-randomized clinical trials are necessary to validate the findings of our study.
Siblings describe positive and negative aspects of autism and often assume lifelong support roles. Less is known about cultural influences on sibling relationships. This qualitative study characterizes processes linking siblings’ autism conceptualizations, sibling relationships, and self-concept using a multicultural framework. Siblings (12 Latino/a/x, 9 non-Latino/a/x white) participated. Data were stratified by ethnicity and analyzed using applied thematic analysis. Latino/a/x and non-Latino/a/x siblings described processes linking autism, relationships, and self-concept differently. Latino/a/x siblings emphasized family roles and identified as caregivers and protectors. Non-Latino/a/x siblings emphasized general sensitivity toward individuals who differed from themselves. Findings may reflect cultural differences in familism, caregiving expectations, and autism conceptualizations, thereby illuminating foundations of siblings’ lifelong caregiving roles and highlighting the importance of culturally-sensitive, family-centered care.
Background Caregivers' substance use is associated with child maltreatment. Objective Examine trends from 2005 to 2018 in percentages of three outcomes with caregivers' drug or alcohol use: child protective services (CPS) referrals, substantiated maltreatment reports, and foster care placements. Participants and setting 22 U.S. states that contributed child-level maltreatment outcomes and caregivers' substance use data to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System from 2005 to 2018. Methods Joinpoint regression was used to examine the average annual percent change (AAPC) in outcomes with caregivers' drug or alcohol use and to identify temporal changes. Results From 2005 to 2018, CPS referrals with caregivers' drug use increased (AAPC 2.33, p < .001), while referrals with alcohol use remained unchanged (AAPC -0.11, p = .92) (trend difference p = .04). Substantiated reports with caregivers' drug and alcohol use increased (AAPC drug use 3.63, p < .001, AAPC alcohol use 1.28, p = .03), with a greater increase observed with drug use (difference p = .03). Foster care placements with caregivers' drug use increased (AAPC 2.54, p < .001), while placements with alcohol use did not change (AAPC -1.22, p = .29), (difference p = .005). Within the study period, changes in trends with caregivers' drug use included increased substantiated reports from 2010 to 2018 (p < .001) and increased foster care placements from 2009 to 2018 (p < .001). With caregivers' alcohol use, CPS referrals and foster care placements decreased from 2007 to 2018 (all p < .001). Conclusions Trends differed for outcomes with caregivers' drug versus alcohol use. Findings can inform policies to improve care for families affected by substance use.
Background BCG vaccines are given to more than 100 million children every year, but there is considerable debate regarding the effectiveness of BCG vaccination in preventing tuberculosis and death, particularly among older children and adults. We therefore aimed to investigate the age-specific impact of infant BCG vaccination on tuberculosis (pulmonary and extrapulmonary) development and mortality. Methods In this systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis, we searched MEDLINE, Web of Science, BIOSIS, and Embase without language restrictions for case-contact cohort studies of tuberculosis contacts published between Jan 1, 1998, and April 7, 2018. Search terms included “mycobacterium tuberculosis”, “TB”, “tuberculosis”, and “contact”. We excluded cohort studies that did not provide information on BCG vaccination or were done in countries that did not recommend BCG vaccination at birth. Individual-level participant data for a prespecified list of variables, including the characteristics of the exposed participant (contact), the index case, and the environment, were requested from authors of all eligible studies. Our primary outcome was a composite of prevalent (diagnosed at or within 90 days of baseline) and incident (diagnosed more than 90 days after baseline) tuberculosis in contacts exposed to tuberculosis. Secondary outcomes were pulmonary tuberculosis, extrapulmonary tuberculosis, and mortality. We derived adjusted odds ratios (aORs) using mixed-effects, binary, multivariable logistic regression analyses with study-level random effects, adjusting for the variable of interest, baseline age, sex, previous tuberculosis, and whether data were collected prospectively or retrospectively. We stratified our results by contact age and Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection status. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020180512. Findings We identified 14 927 original records from our database searches. We included participant-level data from 26 cohort studies done in 17 countries in our meta-analysis. Among 68 552 participants, 1782 (2·6%) developed tuberculosis (1309 [2·6%] of 49 686 BCG-vaccinated participants vs 473 [2·5%] of 18 866 unvaccinated participants). The overall effectiveness of BCG vaccination against all tuberculosis was 18% (aOR 0·82, 95% CI 0·74–0·91). When stratified by age, BCG vaccination only significantly protected against all tuberculosis in children younger than 5 years (aOR 0·63, 95% CI 0·49–0·81). Among contacts with a positive tuberculin skin test or IFNγ release assay, BCG vaccination significantly protected against tuberculosis among all participants (aOR 0·81, 95% CI 0·69–0·96), participants younger than 5 years (0·68, 0·47–0·97), and participants aged 5–9 years (0·62, 0·38–0·99). There was no protective effect among those with negative tests, unless they were younger than 5 years (0·54, 0·32–0·90). 14 cohorts reported on whether tuberculosis was pulmonary or extrapulmonary (n=57 421). BCG vaccination significantly protected against pulmonary tuberculosis among all participants (916 [2·2%] in 41 119 vaccinated participants vs 334 [2·1%] in 16 161 unvaccinated participants; aOR 0·81, 0·70–0·94) but not against extrapulmonary tuberculosis (106 [0·3%] in 40 318 vaccinated participants vs 38 [0·2%] in 15 865 unvaccinated participants; 0·96, 0·65–1·41). In the four studies with mortality data, BCG vaccination was significantly protective against death (0·25, 0·13–0·49). Interpretation Our results suggest that BCG vaccination at birth is effective at preventing tuberculosis in young children but is ineffective in adolescents and adults. Immunoprotection therefore needs to be boosted in older populations. Funding National Institutes of Health.
Two randomized controlled trials demonstrated no clinical benefit of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for either post‐exposure prophylaxis (PEP) or early treatment of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. Using data from these studies, we calculated time‐weighted average change from baseline SARS‐CoV‐2 viral load and demonstrated that HCQ did not affect viral clearance. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Objectives To evaluate how medical students perceive COVID-19 has impacted various otolaryngology educational experiences and appreciate useful adaptations/resources that can be implemented moving forward. Methods We circulated a web-based questionnaire among pre-clinical/clinical medical students. Participants were asked to rate their experiences in the realms of research, clinical exposure, faculty interaction, interest group (IG) activities, advising, and USMLE preparation considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualitative responses were mapped into thematic domains. Results Completed responses from 201 medical students demonstrated an effect across all educational activities. Pre-clinical students experienced a negative impact on their IG involvement (77%; 86/111) and clinical students reported a diminished clinical experience (60%; 40/67), with 54% (36/67) citing below-expectation surgical exposure. Overall, 51% (90/178) of students reported a perceived decrease in beneficial otolaryngology career advising, decreased research involvement (57%, 101/178), and reduced faculty interaction (79%, 141/178). Faculty mentorship programs, curated video resources, and online question banks were selected as valuable resources during COVID-19 (21%, 20%, and 13% of selections, respectively) that may offer ongoing benefit. Free-response feedback also indicated that COVID-19 negatively impacted students’ mental well-being and inhibited opportunities to complete away sub-internships. As for supplemental resources, students appreciated virtual grand rounds/teaching, interest group events, online resources, and meetings with attendings/residents. Conclusions According to students, COVID-19 negatively impacted a broad array of otolaryngology educational experiences including research, faculty interaction, and interest group involvement. Students also indicated several well-received adaptations, such as virtual mentorship programs, curated video materials, remote research opportunities, and online question banks. This feedback helps contextualize selection committee decisions and, importantly, assists clerkship directors and undergraduate medical educators to optimize their curriculums.
Importance: Cigarette smoking and risky alcohol consumption co-occur and are undertreated. Nicotine receptor partial agonists and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) treat smoking but are unproven for alcohol, and clinical trials rarely include individuals with HIV, substance use, and mental health conditions. Objective: To compare the effects on drinking and smoking of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor partial agonists varenicline and cytisine with those of NRT. Design, setting, and participants: This 4-group randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted from July 2017 to December 2020 in St Petersburg, Russia. Included participants were 400 individuals with HIV who engaged in risky drinking (≥5 prior-month heavy-drinking days [HDDs]) and daily smoking; they were followed up for 12 months after enrollment. Data were analyzed from May 2021 through June 2022. Interventions: Participants received alcohol and tobacco counseling, 1 active medication, and 1 placebo in 1 of 4 groups: active varenicline and placebo NRT (group 1), placebo varenicline and active NRT (group 2), active cytisine and placebo NRT (group 3), or placebo cytisine and active NRT (group 4). Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was number of prior-month HDDs at 3 months. Secondary outcomes included biochemically validated abstinence from alcohol at 3 months and smoking at 6 months. Results: Among 400 participants (263 [65.8%] men; mean [SD] age, 39  years), 97 individuals (24.3%) used opioids and 156 individuals (39.1%) had depressive symptoms. These individuals had a mean (SD) CD4 count of 391 (257) cells/mm3, smoked a mean (SD) of 21  cigarettes/d, and reported a mean (SD) of 9.3 (5.8) HDDs in the prior 30 days. At 3 months, the mean (SD) number of HDDs was decreased vs baseline across all groups (group 1: 2.0 [3.8] HDDs vs. 9.5 [6.1] HDDs; group 2: 2.1 [4.3] HDDs vs 9.3 [5.7] HDDs; group 3: 1.5 [3.3] HDDs vs 8.9 [5.0] HDDs; group 4: 2.4 [5.2] HDDs vs 9.6 [6.3] HDDs). There were no significant differences at 3 months between groups in mean (SD) HDDs, including group 1 vs 2 (incident rate ratio [IRR], 0.94; 95% CI, 0.49-1.79), 3 vs 4 (IRR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.30-1.18), and 1 vs 3 (IRR, 1.29; 95% CI, 0.65-2.55). There were no significant differences at 6 months between groups in smoking abstinence, including group 1 vs 2 (15 of 100 individuals [15.0%] vs 17 of 99 individuals [17.2%]; odds ratio [OR],0.89; 95% CI, 0.38-2.08), 3 vs 4 (19 of 100 individuals [19.0%] vs 19 of 101 individuals [18.8%]; OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.46-2.17), and 1 vs 3 (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.35-1.78). Post hoc analyses suggested lower mean (SD) HDDs (eg, at 3 months: 0.7 [1.8] HDDs vs 2.3 [4.6] HDDs) and higher alcohol abstinence (eg, at 3 months: 30 of 85 individuals [35.3%] vs 54 of 315 individuals [17.1%]) among those who quit vs continued smoking. Conclusions and relevance: This study found that among individuals with HIV who engaged in risky drinking and smoking, varenicline and cytisine were not more efficacious than NRT to treat risky drinking and smoking but that behavior change rates were high in all groups. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02797587.
Background: Persons living with human immunodeficiency virus are an underserved population for evidence-based cancer treatment. Paclitaxel and carboplatin (PCb) is an active regimen against a variety of solid tumors, including several seen in excess in patients with HIV infection. We performed a pilot trial to evaluate the safety of full-dose PCb in people living with human immunodeficiency virus and cancer. Methods: Eligible patients, stratified by concurrent antiretroviral therapy (ART) that included CYP3A4 inhibitors or not, received paclitaxel (175 mg/m2) in combination with carboplatin (target AUC 6) intravenously every 3 weeks for up to 6 cycles. Results: Sixteen evaluable patients received 64 cycles of PCb, including 6 patients treated with CYP3A4 inhibiting ART (ritonavir). The adverse event profile was consistent with the known toxicity profile of PCb, with no differences between the 2 strata. There were 4 partial responses (25%, 95% CI: 7%-52%), and overall, CD4+ lymphocyte count was similar after completion of therapy (median: 310/μL) compared with baseline values (median: 389/μL). Pharmacokinetic studies in 6 patients revealed no significant differences in Cmax or AUCinf for paclitaxel between the 2 cohorts. Conclusion: Full doses of PCb chemotherapy are tolerable when given concurrently with ART in people living with human immunodeficiency virus with cancer, including patients receiving CYP3A4 inhibitors. Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01249443.
Background: Much of the recorded medical literature focuses on individual-level factors that contribute to firearm violence. Recently, studies have highlighted higher incidence of firearm violence in historically redlined and marginalized areas, but few have gone on to study the downstream associations causing these differences. This study aims to understand the effects of historic redlining and current income mobility on firearm violence. Methods: Using a retrospective cross-sectional design, shooting incidents were spatially joined with redlining vector files, and linked to income mobility data (how much a child makes in adulthood). Participants included all assault and homicide incidents involving a firearm in the city of Boston, between 2016 and 2019. The exposure of interest was redlining designation as outlined by the Home Owner's Loan Corporation (HOLC) in the 1930s and income mobility, stratified by race, defined as the income of a child in their 30s compared to where they grew up (census tract level). The outcome measured was shooting rate per census block. Results: We find that increases in Black income mobility (BIM) and White income mobility (WIM) are associated with significant decreases in rates of firearm incidents in all HOLC designations; however, there is a larger decrease with increasing BIM (RR 0.47 per unit increase in BIM, 95% CI 0.35, 0.64; RR 0.81 per unit increase in WIM, 95% CI 0.71, 0.93). Plotting predicted rates of firearm violence in each HOLC designation at different levels of BIM, there were no significant differences in shooting rates between historically harmful and beneficial classifications above $50,000 of BIM. Despite level of WIM, there were continued disparities between harmful and beneficial HOLC classification. Conclusion: These findings highlight the importance of structural racism in the form of redlining and discriminatory housing policies, and the preclusion from economic mobility therein, on the incidence of firearm violence today. Level of evidence: Prognostic and Epidemiological; Level IV.
Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic led to rapid expansion of telehealth services. This was speculated to improve healthcare access among underserved populations, including individuals unable to take time off work or arrange transportation. Objective: We completed a quality improvement project to evaluate the feasibility of hybrid consultations that combined televisits and abbreviated in-person visits for neuromuscular referrals. Methods: Using a censoring date of August 5, 2021, we reviewed all outpatient neuromuscular consultations from August 5, 2020 to February 5, 2021. For both hybrid and traditional in-person consultations, we reviewed no-show rates, completion rates of ordered diagnostic workup, and billing codes. For hybrid consultations only, we also reviewed intervals between initial televisit and subsequent examination and rates of video-enhanced versus audio-only televisits. Results: During the study period, we completed 153 hybrid and 59 in-person new-patient consultations (no-show rates 9% and 27% respectively.) For hybrid consultations, 77% and 73% of laboratory and imaging studies were completed respectively, compared to 89% and 91% for in-person consultations. For hybrid visits, average RVUs (a marker for reimbursement) per consultation depended on whether audio-only televisits were billed as telephone calls or E/M visits per insurance payer rules, while video-enhanced televisits were uniformly billed as E/M visits. This resulted in average RVUs between 2.09 and 2.26, compared to 2.30 for in-person consultations. Conclusions: Telehealth-based hybrid neuromuscular consultations are feasible with minor caveats. However, the future of telehealth may be restricted by decreasing reimbursement rates particularly for audio-only televisits, limiting its potential to improve healthcare access.
With aging-associated obesity and osteoarthritis, anesthesiology trainees and their instructors face difficulties in identifying the surface anatomy and landmarks for spinal anesthesia, and successfully advancing the needle into the intrathecal space. Through a series of illustrations and instructions, this teaching tool suggests that using a spinal needle in the same way that a blind person uses a white cane may improve a trainee’s ability to successfully perform a lumbar puncture. Reviewing the technique and instructions with the trainee before approaching the patient can minimize verbal instructions in the patient’s presence and may lead to improved efficiency and trainee success.
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