Safety and effectiveness of telemedicine for neurology outpatients

Scott Med J. 2010 Feb;55(1):3-5. doi: 10.1258/RSMSMJ.55.1.3.


Background and aims: Patients often wait many months to see a neurologist for the first time. With the introduction of targets for maximum waiting times there is a need for novel approaches. Real time telemedicine by videolink (VL) is one such method and we aimed to replicate this in Aberdeen.

Methods: Patients were seen by VL by two Irish-based neurologists, one experienced in telemedicine, the other not. A senior trainee neurologist present with some of the patients validated the telemedicine diagnosis and management with his own face-to-face (FE) assessment. Satisfaction was assessed by questionnaires. Numbers requiring investigations and review were recorded as were representations to neurology over six months.

Results: Forty-four patients were seen. Satisfaction was higher and review rates were similar to previous cohorts seen by FE and VL. There was no difference between the two neurologists. There was complete diagnostic agreement between the VL and FE neurologists. There was a diagnostic change in a single patient after six months follow-up.

Conclusion: Neurology consultation using VL is safe and effective as well as acceptable, and the necessary skills were acquired rapidly by a telemedicine-naive neurologist. Telemedicine using VL can contribute to waiting list reduction, and is likely to be most useful in rural areas.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Remote Consultation*
  • Scotland
  • Videoconferencing*