Aims: Virtual fracture clinics (VFCs) are advocated by recent British Orthopaedic Association Standards for Trauma and Orthopaedics (BOASTs) to efficiently manage injuries during the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary aim of this national study is to assess the impact of these standards on patient satisfaction and clinical outcome amid the pandemic. The secondary aims are to determine the impact of the pandemic on the demographic details of injuries presenting to the VFC, and to compare outcomes and satisfaction when the BOAST guidelines were first introduced with a subsequent period when local practice would be familiar with these guidelines.
Methods: This is a national cross-sectional cohort study comprising centres with VFC services across the UK. All consecutive adult patients assessed in VFC in a two-week period pre-lockdown (6 May 2019 to 19 May 2019) and in the same two-week period at the peak of the first lockdown (4 May 2020 to 17 May 2020), and a randomly selected sample during the 'second wave' (October 2020) will be eligible for the study. Data comprising local VFC practice, patient and injury characteristics, unplanned re-attendances, and complications will be collected by local investigators for all time periods. A telephone questionnaire will be used to determine patient satisfaction and patient-reported outcomes for patients who were discharged following VFC assessment without face-to-face consultation.
Ethics and dissemination: The study results will identify changes in case-mix and numbers of patients managed through VFCs and whether this is safe and associated with patient satisfaction. These data will provide key information for future expert-led consensus on management of trauma injuries through the VFC. The protocol will be disseminated through conferences and peer-reviewed publication. This protocol has been reviewed by the South East Scotland Research Ethics Service and is classified as a multicentre audit.
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Ng, Z., Downie, S., Makaram, N., Kolhe, S., Mackenzie, S., Clement, N., Duckworth, A. & White, T. 2021, 'A multicentre national study of the effectiveness of virtual fracture clinic management of orthopaedic trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic (MAVCOV):a cross-sectional study protocol', Bone & Joint Open, 2(3), pp. 211-215. https://doi.org/10.1302/2633-1462.23.BJO-2020-0191.R1