Preoperative assessment is a standard evaluation, traditionally done in-person in a preanesthesia clinic, for patients who will be undergoing a procedure involving anesthesia. Given the increased adoption of virtual care during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to review the effectiveness of virtual preoperative assessment for the evaluation of surgical patients.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
MEDLINE (Ovid), MEDLINE InProcess/ePubs, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and were searched from the initial coverage of the respective database to May 2021. A manual citation search of Google Scholar and PubMed was conducted to identify missed articles. Continued literature surveillance was done through July 2021.
Patients aged 18 years and older undergoing virtual preoperative anesthesia assessment.
Virtual preoperative assessment.
Surgery cancellation rates, patient experience, resources saved, staff experience, success in using the data collected to diagnose and manage patients.
Fifteen studies (n = 31,496 patients) were included in this review. The average age of patients was 58 ± 15 years, and 47% were male. Virtual preoperative assessment resulted in similar surgery cancellation rates compared to in-person evaluation, with a pooled cancellation rate of 2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1-3%). Most studies reported a positive patient experience, with a pooled estimate of 90% (95% CI, 81-95%). There was a high success rate in using the information collected with virtual care, in the range of 92-100%, to diagnose and manage patients resulting in time and cost savings in the range of 24-137 min and $60-67 per patient.
This systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrates the utility of virtual care for preoperative assessment of surgical patients. Virtual preanesthesia evaluation had similar surgery cancellation rates, high patient satisfaction, and reduced costs compared to in-person evaluation.

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