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Nathan Fisher, Shelley Hancock, Thomas A Ciulla; Ophthalmic Procedure Training During COVID-19: Virtual and In-Person Training of the Suprachoroidal Injection Procedure. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(8):1190.
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The purpose of this analysis was to evaluate virtual and in-person training modalities to educate retinal specialists and other ophthalmology professionals on suprachoroidal injection with the SCS Microinjector®. Significant travel and site visitation restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic required that alternative virtual methodologies be developed to continue training when traditionally utilized in-person, wet lab instruction was not permitted.
Trainees for the suprachoroidal injection procedure included retina physician-investigators participating in clinical trials and non-physicians, including medical science liaisons and other ophthalmology professionals. Both training modalities included a review of a short film on the procedure, a slide review of key procedural steps, and practice injections with a custom-designed synthetic eye, moderated by a certified trainer providing live feedback. Virtual training was conducted via teleconference; both trainee and trainer connected via webcam and audio connection, with all supplies mailed prior to training. Following completion of training, a follow-up survey was sent to every trainee. Trainees were asked about training component preferences and confidence to perform the procedure on a 5-point Likert scale.
A total of 31 trainees completed the survey following suprachoroidal injection training, including 21 physicians and 10 non-physicians. A total of 12 training sessions were completed virtually and 19 were completed in person. Physicians reported an average confidence to perform the procedure of 4.8 (range 4-5), while non-physicians reported an average of 4.2 (range 3-5), although non-physician trainees will not be performing the procedures in patients. Across all groups, the most useful component of training was the hands-on wet lab with the synthetic eye (71%) followed by the live trainer feedback and Q&A (26%). Nearly two-thirds of trainees felt that the training was comprehensive and no additional training elements were required.
Among trainees who completed virtual or in person training on the suprachoroidal injections, physician trainees felt highly confident to perform the procedure with patients. Training experience with a synthetic eye model and live feedback should be incorporated into training curriculums, whether virtual or in person.
This is a 2021 ARVO Annual Meeting abstract.
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