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Reopening Interventional Pain Practices during the Early Phase of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic.

  • Huynh, Lisa1
  • Chang, Richard G2
  • Chhatre, Akhil3
  • Sayeed, Yusef4
  • MacVicar, John5
  • McCormick, Zachary L6
  • Duszynski, Belinda7
  • Smith, Clark8
  • 1 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Section, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford University, Redwood City, California, USA.
  • 2 Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.
  • 3 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurosurgery, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
  • 4 Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Family Medicine, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, USA.
  • 5 Southern Rehab, Christchurch, New Zealand. , (New Zealand)
  • 6 Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
  • 7 Spine Intervention Society, Hinsdale, IL, USA.
  • 8 Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA.
Published Article
Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.)
Publication Date
Jul 25, 2021
DOI: 10.1093/pm/pnab002
PMID: 33624827


Examine how interventional pain physicians navigated the early phase of reopening practices during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In June/July 2020, Spine Intervention Society members were queried about practice demographics, perception of COVID-19 prevalence, financial impact, and implementation of new tools and procedures when re-opening practices. Of the 2,295 members approached, 195 (8%) completed the survey. A majority (71%) reported using risk stratification tools and changing scheduling patterns. Nearly 70% performed initial assessments via telehealth and 87% for follow-up encounters. More than 80% performed symptom/temperature checks upon in-person clinic/facility entrance, and 63% screened patients via phone. Most (58%) did not test patients for COVID-19 for office visits, while 38% tested only if symptomatic. For epidural injections, intra-articular injections, and radiofrequency neurotomy procedures, 43% reported not testing patients, while 36% tested patients only if symptomatic. Most (70%) required patients to wear a mask upon entering the clinic/facility. For nonprocedure encounters, respondents used surgical masks (85%), gloves (35%), face shields/goggles (24%), N95 respirators (15%), and gowns (6%). Some (66%) discussed unique COVID-19 risks/complications and 26% provided written information. Most did not make changes to steroid dosage (67%) or peri-procedural anticoagulation management (97%). The vast majority (81%) estimated that COVID-19 will have a moderate-severe financial impact on their practice. COVID-19 has dramatically affected interventional pain practices with regard to telehealth, in-clinic precautions, screening/testing protocols, and patient counseling. Practice patterns will continue to evolve as we learn more about the disease and improve methods to provide safe and effective care. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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