Virtual Tumor Boards for Remote Learning in Head and Neck Surgical Oncology

Michael R. Papazian, Michael Chow, Donald Weed, Jeffrey C. Liu, Arnaud F. Bewley, Michael G. Moore, Babak Givi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: In addition to their patient management value, multidisciplinary tumor boards have been recognized as effective learning tools. However, the value of using a virtual tumor board as a learning tool for head and neck surgical oncology fellows has not been studied. Objective: To describe the structure and content of the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) Virtual Tumor Board and assess its educational value as perceived by attendees. Design, Setting, and Participants: All sessions of the AHNS Virtual Tumor Board from April 8, 2020, to June 1, 2022, were reviewed. Topics, presenters, participants, and viewership data were collected as of October 15, 2022, from session recordings posted to an online video sharing and social media platform. Additionally, an anonymous, 14-question online survey was designed to elicit feedback from head and neck surgery trainees on virtual tumor board engagement, strengths, and weaknesses. The survey was electronically distributed in June and July 2022 to the 101 fellows enrolled in AHNS-accredited programs between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary aim was to tabulate online viewership of the sessions. The secondary aim was to qualitatively assess the experience of head and neck trainees with the AHNS Virtual Tumor Board using a survey. Results: Forty-two sessions of the virtual tumor board were held between April 8, 2020, and June 1, 2022. Almost all sessions (41 [98%]) were case based. One hundred and sixteen cases were presented, representing 2 to 3 cases per session, by 75 unique faculty members. Each session was viewed a mean of 217 times (range, 64-2216 views). In the 2021 to 2022 academic year, a mean of 60 viewers (range, 30-92 viewers) attended each live session. In all, 29 survey responses were collected from 101 fellows in AHNS-accredited programs (29% response rate). Most respondents felt the format allowed for excellent teaching (18 of 26 respondents [69%]) and discussion (19 of 26 respondents [73%]). Most respondents (22 of 29 respondents [76%]) believed that practicing head and neck surgeons would benefit from the sessions. Conclusions and Relevance: This survey study found that the AHNS Virtual Tumor Board was well-attended and well-reviewed by head and neck surgical oncology trainees. The virtual tumor board format could be used as model of remote learning for other organizations..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-903
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • Humans
  • Neoplasms
  • Surgical Oncology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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