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Financial and educational impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in an academic hospital-based tertiary cytopathology practice

  • Mirchia, Kanish
  • Khurana, Kamal
Published Article
Journal of the American Society of Cytopathology
American Society of Cytopathology. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Publication Date
Sep 02, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.jasc.2021.08.006
PMID: 34548250
PMCID: PMC8410219
PubMed Central
  • Article


Background The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic shift in volumes and practice patterns for hospitals around the globe. We analyzed its effect on the cytopathology subspecialty practice and resident education at our institution. Design Specimen volumes were analyzed for the cytology practice for 2019 and 2020. Patient registration and elective and scheduled surgery volumes were also included in the analysis for 2020. The impact of innovative concepts, such as virtual teaching, on resident teaching was evaluated using a survey consisting of 5 multiple choice questions with 4 possible responses each. Results The total number of specimens decreased by 28% in March 2020 ( P < 0.00001), with a continuing decline in April (66% decrease year-over-year, P < 0.00001), followed by recovery in May and return to baseline within June 2020. Specimen volumes continued to show an upward trend thereafter. Improved specimen volumes correlated with patient registration and surgical volumes. The majority of residents considered virtual teaching conferences (75%) and self-study sets (58%) as beneficial and did not view absence of one-on-one microscope learning (58%) as significantly affecting their education. Conclusion The recovery curve for our cytopathology service was V-shaped, essentially the most ideal response to an economic downturn. The majority of residents viewed virtual teaching conferences and self-study sets favorably and did not regard absence of one-on-one microscope learning as adversely affecting their education.

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