Highlights from

AAN 2019

American Academy of Neurology annual meeting

Philadelphia, USA 4-10 May 2019

Subspeciality teleneurology: feasible and highly valued

Implementing subspecialty teleneurology services is feasible, and these services receive high patient ratings. This is what Dr Lindsey Ross concluded from a study that was performed at the Cleveland Clinic (Ontario, USA) [1]. This study desribed the implementation and 4 years of patient experience with outpatient subspecialty teleneurology visits at this academic institution.

Dr Ross pointed out a need for improved access to quality neurological care. At home, virtual visits have the potential to improve patient access to neurological subspecialty care. Some of the advantages she mentioned are: saving of travel time, facilitation of long-distance follow-up, increase in compliance, continuous (versus episodic) monitoring, seeing patients in their own environment, and patient satisfaction. However, teleneurology at home may not be appropriate for all neurological problems.

In the study, virtual visits were conducted by personal smartphone or computer via videoconferencing with a provider. Patients rated their experience with the visit and provider on a 5 point scale. In 4 years, 3,958 patients completed 5,646 virtual visits. There was a broad applicability across subspecialities. Most concerned headache (21.4%), epilepsy (19.1%), spine (15.7%), and movement (10.8%). Virtual visits were utilised by patients across a wide range of distances from the hospital: 29.8% were local (<50 miles), 25.9% near regional (50-150 miles), 21.6% far regional (151-270 miles), and 23.1% remote (>270 miles). On average, patients rated their overall experience with the virtual visit 4.7/5 and rated their provider 4.9/5. According to Dr Ross, future efforts should assess generalisability, analyse impact of virtual visits on disease-specific health outcomes, and detemine the impact on healthcare costs and utilisation.

  1. Ross L, et al. Implementation and Patient Experience with Outpatient Subspecialty Teleneurology Visits at a Single Academic Institution Over Four Years. AAN 2019, plen01.004.

The content and interpretation of these conference highlights are the views and comments of the speakers/authors.