Teleneurology by email

J Telemed Telecare. 2003:9 Suppl 2:S42-3. doi: 10.1258/135763303322596237.

Abstract

We introduced an email teleneurology service for patients referred to a neurologist by general practitioners. Over 14 months, 76 referrals (of 75 patients) were received. To determine the sustainability of the service, we studied a second cohort of 76 consecutive patients referred after our first study. We also followed up the first cohort of patients to get information on longer-term safety. The second cohort was obtained in one month less than the first, and had similar characteristics in terms of age, sex and the time taken by the neurologist to reply to the general practitioner. It contained fewer patients requiring clinic appointments (34% versus 43%). Fewer patients from the second cohort were referred for second opinions (4 versus 10) and there were no resulting changes in diagnosis. Follow-up of the first cohort from a mean of 6 months to a mean of 23 months led to seven more re-referrals and no additional changes in diagnosis. We conclude that teleneurology by email is sustainable for this group of patients, and confirm that it is safe, effective and efficient.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electronic Mail / standards*
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration
  • Referral and Consultation / standards*
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • United Kingdom