American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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Perceptions of a Novel Virtual Education Platform: How Plastic Surgery Education Has Progressed During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Audrey Nguyen, MD1*; Siyou Song, BA2*; Micaela Rosser, MD1; Gabriela Steiner, MS2; Esther A. Kim, MD1
1University of California San Francisco, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, San Francisco, CA, USA 2University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA *co-first authors

Background: To continue education during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Virtual Education Platform (VEP) and Virtual Visiting Professorship (VVP) lectures were immediately developed and implemented in March 2020 for plastic surgery residents. This study investigates the perceptions of the VEP since the start of the pandemic
Methods: The VEP consists of weekly VVP lectures and other conferences held over Zoom. In May 2020, residents and speakers completed surveys that assessed the advantages, disadvantages, satisfaction, and other perceptions of the VEP using a 5- point Likert scale. In August 2021, follow-up surveys were administered to residents to re-assess the VEP. All surveys were administered through Qualtrics (Qualtrics XM, Seattle, Washington)
Results: 19 (100%) residents and 10 (100%) speakers responded to the 2020 surveys. 15 (88.2%) residents responded to the 2021 follow-up survey. In 2020, speakers represented nine academic institutions, including one internationally. 73.7% of residents said they learned a lot or a great deal from the VVP. In 2021, 100% of residents agreed that virtual conferences should remain a core medium in PRS residency education, even after social distancing requirements subside. The VVP lectures were also mentioned as the most helpful lectures in both years (94.7% and 46.7%). Easy accessibility without travel time was the most commonly mentioned advantage of the VEP in both 2020 (52.2%) and 2021 (93.3%), with significantly more residents citing this benefit in 2021 (X2 = 7.12, p=0.0076). The most commonly reported disadvantage for residents was the lack of social interaction and community in both years (42.9% and 87.5%, respectively), with significantly more residents in 2021 citing this as a disadvantage (X2=4.67, p=0.0307). Residentsí attitudes also shifted such that significantly more residents liked and were satisfied with the VVP lectures from 2020 to 2021 (p=0.04)
Conclusion: The VEP and VVP received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The VVP is novel in its quick development, implementation, and high efficacy during an unprecedented time in healthcare.

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