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Patient satisfaction with telehealth vs in-person hand therapy: A retrospective review of results of an online satisfaction survey

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a shift from in-person to telehealth visits in many outpatient rehabilitation facilities. To determine whether patients reported similar levels of satisfaction receivingtelehealth hand therapy as when receiving in-person hand therapy. Retrospective review of patient satisfaction surveys. Satisfaction surveys were reviewed retrospectively among patients who participated in in-person hand therapy between April 21 and October 21, 2019, or after participating in telehealth hand therapy between April 21 and October 21, 2020. Information on gender, age, insurance provider, postoperative status and comments were also collected. Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare survey scores between groups. Chi -squared tests were used to compare categorical patient characteristics between groups. A total of 288 surveys were included: 121 surveys for in-person evaluations, 53 surveys for in-person follow-up visits, 55 surveys for telehealth evaluations and 59 surveys for telehealth follow-up visits. No significant differences in satisfaction were observed between in-person and telehealth visits of either type or when patients were stratified by age (p = 0.78), gender (p = 0.41), insurance payer group (p = 0.099) or postoperative status (p = 0.19). Similar rates of satisfaction were observed with both in-person visits and telehealth hand therapy visits. Questions that related to registration and scheduling tended to score lower across all groups, while questions related to technology scored lower in the telehealth groups. Future studies are needed to explore the efficacy and viability of a telehealth platform for hand therapy services.

Open Access
Systematic review: Zone IV extensor tendon early active mobilization programs

Systematic review INTRODUCTION: Early active mobilization (EAM) of tendon repairs is preferred to immobilization or passive mobilization. Several EAM approaches are available to therapists; however, the most efficacious for use after zone IV extensor tendon repairs has not been established. To determine if an optimal EAM approach can be identified for use after zone IV extensor tendon repairs based on current available evidence. Database searching was undertaken on May 25, 2022 using MEDLINE, Embase, and Emcare with further citation searching of published systematic/scoping reviews and searching of the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ClinicalTrials.gov, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Studies involving adults with repaired finger zone IV extensor tendons, managed with an EAM program, were included. Critical appraisal using the Structured Effectiveness Quality Evaluation Scale was performed. Eleven studies were included, two were of moderate methodological quality, and the remainder was low. Two studies reported results specific to zone IV repairs. Most studies utilized relative motion extension (RME) programs; two utilized a Norwich program, and two other programs were described. High proportions of "good" and "excellent" range of motion (ROM) outcomes were reported. There were no tendon ruptures in the RME or Norwich programs; small numbers of ruptures were reported in other programs. The included studies reported minimal data on outcomes specific to zone IV extensor tendon repairs. Most studies reported on the outcomes for RME programs which appeared to provide good ROM outcomes with low levels of complications. The evidence obtained in this review was insufficient to determine the optimal EAM program after zone IV extensor tendon repair. It is recommended that future research focus specifically on outcomes of zone IV extensor tendon repairs. I.

Relative motion orthoses for early active motion after finger extensor and flexor tendon repairs: A systematic review

The relative motion (RM) orthosis was introduced over 40 years ago for extensor tendon rehabilitation and more recently applied to flexor tendon repairs. We systematically reviewed the evidence for RM orthoses following surgical repair of finger extensor and flexor tendon injuries including indications for use, configuration and schedule of orthosis wear, and clinical outcomes. Systematic review. A PRISMA-compliant systematic review searched eight databases and five trial registries, from database inception to January 7, 2022. The protocol was registered prospectively (CRD42020211579). We identified studies describing patients undergoing rehabilitation using RM orthoses after surgical repair of acute tendon injuries of the finger and hand. For extensor tendon repairs, ten studies, one trial registry and five conference abstracts met inclusion criteria, reporting outcomes of 521 patients with injuries in zones IV-VII. Miller's criteria were predominantly used to report range of motion; with 89.6% and 86.9% reporting good or excellent outcomes for extension lag and flexion deficit, respectively. For flexor tendon repairs, one retrospective case series was included reporting outcomes in eight patients following zones I-II repairs. Mean total active motion was 86%. No tendon ruptures were reported due to the orthosis not protecting the repair for either the RME or RMF approaches. Variation was seen in use of RME plus or only, use of night orthoses and orthotic wear schedules, which may be the result of evolution of the RM approach. Since Hirth etal's 2016 scoping review, there are five additional studies, including two RCTs reporting the use of the RM orthosis in extensor tendon rehabilitation. There is now good evidence that the RM approach is safe in zones V-VI extensor tendon repairs. Limited evidence currently exists for zones IV and VII extensor and for flexor tendon repairs. Further high-quality clinical studies are needed to demonstrate its safety and efficacy.