A pilot study of telemedicine for new neurological outpatient referrals

J Telemed Telecare. 2000;6(4):225-8. doi: 10.1258/1357633001935400.


We investigated whether new patients attending a neurological outpatient clinic could be safely managed by neurologists at a distance, using a video-link. In Northern Ireland, a video-link, transmitting at 384 kbit/s, was set up between a neurological centre and a small rural hospital 140 km away. Twenty-five unselected patients who had been referred by their family doctor were assessed by a neurologist using the telemedicine link and then immediately by another neurologist face to face. Examiners were blinded to the results of each other's assessment. In 24 cases the diagnoses made after the telemedicine and face-to-face examinations were identical. There were minor differences between the type and number of investigations requested, and the requirements for treatment and follow-up between the two groups. Disposal method was the same in 21 of the cases. No major organizational difficulties were encountered during the study. The study showed that neurologists can deliver outpatient neurological care to distant patients using telemedicine. This has the potential to allow access to assessment for the large number of neurological outpatients who might otherwise be denied it.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination / methods*
  • Northern Ireland
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Remote Consultation / standards*