"[Telemedicine] is not going to completely take over our in-person visits—there are going to be times where exams are definitely still going to be important in neurology—but I think this is going to be a great supplement to how we practice and a great option for patients to get access to care in a different way."
Over the years, the frequency of telemedicine use has begun to increase, helping to address the holes that have left patients with neurologic conditions behind. While it has mostly been utilized for acute conditions on a more inpatient basis, its utilization in chronic diseases has increasingly become the subject of interest in research.

A few years ago, Cleveland Clinic began utilizing this to attempt to meet this challenge and fill in these gaps across subspecialties, and in particular, to evaluate the ­personal use of video-conferencing platforms in neurology. These at-home virtual visits could potentially build toward better patient access to neurological subspecialty care that would normally require them to travel to the closest center. That in itself can present an additional challenge due to the expense and disability.

At the 2019 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, May 4-10, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marisa McGinley, DO, staff neurologist, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues spoke during a plenary session to share data from the last 4 years of the institution’s telemedicine program. All told, the data included 3958 patients and 5646 virtual visits in a number of subspecialties, including headache (21.4%), epilepsy (19.1%), spinal disorders (15.7%), movement disorders (10.8%), psychiatry (6.4%), autonomic disorders (5.7%), cerebrovascular conditions (4.8%), and cognitive disorders (3.6%).

McGinley sat with NeurologyLive to discuss how the study demonstrates the feasibility of implementing subspecialty tele-neurology services and the high patient ratings for these services. As well, she noted that future efforts should focus on demonstrating value for patients and the health care system.

For more coverage of AAN 2019, click here.
REFERENCE
Ross L, Bena J, Bermel R, et al. Implementation and Patient Experience with Outpatient Subspecialty Teleneurology Visits at a Single Academic Institution Over Four Years. Presented at: 2019 American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting. May 4-10, 2019; Philadelphia, PA.