Best Practice for Running a Virtual Fracture Conference

Emily Keener, DO discusses adapting weekly resident fracture conferences to an online format

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020-2021 AO Trauma NA community newsletter. Read the full newsletter here.

Our residency program conducts a fracture conference on Friday mornings with all the attendings and residents involved in the program. We go over all the fracture x-rays from the week. It is always a very civil, thought-provoking, and educational experience for residents, attendings, and medical students.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the in-person fracture conferences were cancelled.

We went several weeks without a fracture conference and then had many x-rays piling up that we had not gone over or reviewed as a group.

The residents were then tasked with creating a weekly fracture conference over WebEx. The second-year residents on the trauma service created a PowerPoint presentation from the cases from the weeks prior. They included a short summary slide on the patient and their mechanism of injury as well as any other injuries and their past medical history. This was followed by pre-operative x-rays and any other images including a CT scan if relevant.

The intra-operative x-rays were then shown, and the resident involved in the case explained the rationale for the treatment plan, the case itself, and the post-operative plan. Because of the PowerPoint format the resident was able to include any relevant pre-operative or intraoperative clinical pictures.

The post-operative x-rays were then shown to the group and the attending for the case would add any points that had not been covered by the resident. The floor would then be opened to the group and any attendings or residents with questions, concerns, or positive comments would have the opportunity to speak.

This was also the opportunity to go back and look at any of the preoperative and intra-operative images if prompted by anyone in the group. With an average of ten attendings, fifteen residents, and multiple medical students on the video, this format worked well in that the discussions were informative, respectful, and not chaotic.

Even as the cases are starting to pick back up, the attendings and residents are still able to participate. The residency program director worked with the GME department to make it possible for the attendings to receive CME credits for our weekly meeting.

The remote video fracture conference for our group has been an excellent opportunity for learning and participation during the pandemic and may stay a weekly lasting tradition since the format has worked so well.

Having the format discussed at the beginning of the conference including who speaks and when has been the key for us to having a successful weekly learning opportunity.

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