An Evaluation of Neurosurgical Practices During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Panayiotis E. Pelargos, Arpan R. Chakraborty, Owoicho Adogwa, Karin Swartz, Yan D. Zhao, Zachary A. Smith, Ian F. Dunn, Andrew M. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: We sought to understand how the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has affected the neurosurgical workforce. Methods: We created a survey consisting of 22 questions to assess the respondent's operative experience, location, type of practice, subspecialty, changes in clinic and operative volumes, changes to staff, and changes to income since the pandemic began. The survey was distributed electronically to neurosurgeons throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Results: Of the 724 who opened the survey link, 457 completed the survey. The respondents were from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico and represented all practices types and subspecialties. Nearly all respondents reported hospital restrictions on elective surgeries. Most reported a decline in clinic and operative volume. Nearly 70% of respondents saw a decrease in the work hours of their ancillary providers, and almost one half (49.1%) of the respondents had had to downsize their practice staff, office assistants, nurses, schedulers, and other personnel. Overall, 43.6% of survey respondents had experienced a decline in income, and 27.4% expected a decline in income in the upcoming billing cycle. More senior neurosurgeons and those with a private practice, whether solo or as part of a group, were more likely to experience a decline in income as a result of the pandemic compared with their colleagues. Conclusion: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic will likely have a lasting effect on the practice of medicine. Our survey results have described the early effects on the neurosurgical workforce. Nearly all neurosurgeons experienced a significant decline in clinical volume, which led to many downstream effects. Ultimately, analysis of the effects of such a pervasive pandemic will allow the neurosurgical workforce to be better prepared for similar events in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld neurosurgery
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Neurosurgery
  • Neurosurgery practice
  • Pandemic
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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