For a study, researchers sought to comprehend how urological surgery planning during the COVID-19 pandemic may be impacted by the absence of a physical assessment during new patient video visits.

From March through May 2020, at a single academic facility, 590 consecutive urological patients who completed new patient video visits were retrospectively examined. The percentage of video-visit surgical plans stayed the same when the patient was seen in person, either in the clinic or on the day of surgery. Using the Mann-Whitney U test, the median days between video and in-person visits were compared between concordant and discordant patients; P<.05 was considered significant.

Overall, 195 (33%) new patients underwent video visits for evaluation and had a procedure planned; 186 (95%) of these patients had concordant plans following in-person evaluation. Additionally, 91% of operating room procedures and 99% of office procedure plans remained the same. Surgery was modified for 4 patients (2.1%) due to changes in clinical course, 2 (1%) as a result of further imaging, and three (1.5%) as a result of genitourinary test results. Days between the video visit and the in-person evaluation did not differ significantly between the concordant patients (median 37.5 [IQR, 16 – 80.5]) and the discordant cases (median 58.0 [IQR, 20 – 224]; P=.12).

After an in-person evaluation, the majority of surgery plans created during new patient video sessions were still in effect. Operative planning, however, can be modified by changes in the clinical trajectory or new imaging. Likewise, the genitourinary examination was used to guide the surgical approach for some urologic disorders (such as penile cancer).