© James Cook University. Introduction: This study aimed to demonstrate that teleneurology consultations conducted via tablet technology are an efficient and cost-effective means of managing acute neurologic emergencies at community-based hospitals and that utilizing such technology yields high community physician satisfaction. Method: During a 39-month period, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee USA, provided teleneurology services to 10 community-based hospitals that lacked adequate neurology coverage. Hospitalists at one community-based hospital were not comfortable treating any patient with a neurologic symptom, resulting in 100% of those patients being transferred. This facility now retains more than 60% of neurology patients. For less than US$1200, these hospitals were able to meet the only capital expenditure required to launch this service: the purchase of handheld tablet computers. Real-time teleneurology consultations were conducted via tablet using two-way video conferencing, radiologic image sharing, and medical record documentation. Community physicians were regularly surveyed to assess satisfaction. Results: From February 2014 to May 2017, 3626 teleneurology consultations were conducted. Community physicians, in partnership with neurologists, successfully managed 87% of patients at the community-based hospital. Only 13% of patients required transfer to another facility for a higher level of care. The most common diagnoses included stroke (34%), seizure (11%), and headache/migraine (6%). The average time for the neurologist to answer a request for consultation page and connect with the community physician was 10.6 minutes. Ninety-one percent of community physicians were satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the overall service. Conclusion: In the assessment of neurology patients, tablets are a more cost-effective alternative to traditional telehealth technologies. The devices promote efficiency in consultations through ease of use and low transfer rates, and survey results indicate community physician satisfaction.
Harper, K., McLeod, M., Brown, S., Wilson, G., Turchan, M., Gittings, E., Riebau, D., Baker, M., Zimmerman, E., & Charles, D. (2019). Teleneurology service provided via tablet technology: 3-year outcomes and physician satisfaction. Rural and Remote Health. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH4743