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A mixed-methods survey to explore issues with virtual consultations for musculoskeletal care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Gilbert, AW; Booth, G; Betts, T; Goldberg, A; (2021) A mixed-methods survey to explore issues with virtual consultations for musculoskeletal care during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders , 22 (1) , Article 245. 10.1186/s12891-021-04113-y. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: To explore orthopaedic and musculoskeletal clinicians’ views and experiences of legal, safety, safeguarding and security issues regarding the use of virtual consultations (VC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. A secondary objective was to suggest ways to overcome these issues. Methods: A mixed method cross-sectional survey was conducted, seeking the views and experiences of orthopaedic and musculoskeletal medically qualified and Allied Health Professionals in the United Kingdom. Descriptive statistical analysis was employed for quantitative data and a qualitative content analysis undertaken for qualitative data. Findings were presented in accordance with the four key issues. Results: Two hundred and ninety professionals (206 physiotherapists, 78 medically qualified professionals, 6 ‘other’ therapists) participated in the survey. Of the 290 participants, 260 (90%) were not using VC prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 248 respondents (86%) were unsure whether their professional indemnity insurance covered VC, 136 (47%) had considered how they would handle an issue of safeguarding whilst the remainder had not, 126 (43%) had considered what they would do if, during a virtual consultation, a patient suffered an injury (e.g. bang on their head) or a fall (e.g. mechanical or a medical event like syncope) and 158 (54%) reported they felt the current technological solutions are secure in terms of patient data. Qualitative data provided additional context to support the quantitative findings such as validity of indemnification, accuracy of diagnosis and consent using VC, safeguarding issues; and security and sharing of data. Potential changes to practice have been proposed to address these issues. Conclusions: VC have been rapidly deployed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic often without clear guidance or consensus on many important issues. This study identified legal, safeguarding, safety and security issues. There is an urgent need to address these and develop local and national guidance and frameworks to facilitate ongoing safe virtual orthopaedic practice beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Type: Article
Title: A mixed-methods survey to explore issues with virtual consultations for musculoskeletal care during the COVID-19 pandemic
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12891-021-04113-y
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-021-04113-y
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Orthopedics, Rheumatology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Ortho and MSK Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130671
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