E1044. Methods of Utilizing Various Teleconferencing Programs to Accommodate Changing Learning Environments in Pandemic Times and Beyond
  1. Erin Choe; New York Medical College
  2. Nicolas Sanchez; New York Medical College
  3. Jared Meshekow; Westchester Medical Center
  4. Anthony Gilet; Westchester Medical Center
  5. Perry Gerard; Westchester Medical Center
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique challenge to medical learning environments. Due to recommended restrictions by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reduced clinical exposure and volume has redefined “standard” training, creating a unique obstacle for complying with ACGME mandated didactic educating. We explored the risks and benefits of various teleconferencing solutions to maintain strong educational value amidst limited social interactions in medicine. Although there is no substitute for hands on learning and direct patient care, there are other opportunities to mitigate the restricted exposure during this time. We utilized a comprehensive search of PubMed with the key words tele-conferencing, COVID, risks, benefits, and education.

Educational Goals / Teaching Points
Commercial online teleconferencing software (Go WebX WebEx (Cisco Webex) allows for the feel of in-person meetings from a safe distance, accessible from any location through smartphone/tablet. However, cons to some older programs include capacity limitations, an older interface, and slow join times. Newer teleconference platforms (such as Zoom Video Communications) are faster with a user-friendly interface that includes polling and live chat functions, allowing for real-time interaction. Microsoft recently developed Microsoft Teams, allowing professional groups to have organized streams of communication that combines chatting, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. Teams requires a two-factor authentication and encryption of data files for security. Flexible teleconferencing improved faculty turnout and a wider audience. In terms of patient care, telemedicine allowed for better multidisciplinary team management; doctors from different specialties and locations can collaborate and teach one another. For example, the global InterSurgeon conference allowed neurosurgeons to globally connect and exchange knowledge between countries of vastly different economies. Telemedicine also improved rural patient care, decreasing transfer times and hospital costs. Teleconferencing programs have had issues with security and stability, including public hacking. For instance, though it seems to be resolved after several software updates and security patches, Zoom had numerous reported incidences of “Zoombombing” during conferences worldwide. There are also concerns about patient privacy at home while living in shared spaces and ensuring adequate technology in the patient’s home. With treatment being delivered across state lines, there are also new ethical and legal issues regarding privacy, prescribing and licensing of providers, and insurance reimbursements.

Key Anatomic/Physiologic Issues and Imaging Findings/Techniques

These innovative solutions using technology may help to alleviate the decreased clinical exposure during this unprecedented time. Moving forward, we believe that teleconferencing platforms will be essential to delivering education and care to a wide audience in a socially distant manner. Nevertheless, more needs to be researched regarding the possible ethical consequences of providing patient care across great distances.