Telemedicine Services for the Delivery of Specialty Home-Based Neurological Care

Telemed J E Health. 2022 Nov 24. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0242. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telemedicine services for the delivery of outpatient neurological care. We sought to understand perceptions and the acceptance of this technology by neurology specialists during the proliferation of telemedicine services into their outpatient practices. Methods: We adapted the Telehealth Usability Questionnaire for neurological care via telemedicine. Our 29-item questionnaire evaluated the telemedicine system in three domains: quality of the telemedicine platform, ability to conduct a sufficient neurological examination, and overall system confidence. The survey was distributed to 88 clinical neurology faculty in the Johns Hopkins Health System. Responses were collapsed into "Favorable," "Neutral," and "Unfavorable." Within each domain, responses to individual questions were analyzed by neurology subspecialty using descriptive statistics. Results: We received completed surveys from 46 of the 88 (52%) neurology faculty. Of those, most reported favorable comfort with the current platform (98%), ease of use (73%), and quality (80%). However, responses indicated only average ability to troubleshoot telemedicine platform issues when they occurred (55%) and to complete an entire neurological examination (52%). Subspecialty comparisons revealed differences in diagnostic confidence; 30% of neuromuscular faculty indicated that they could make accurate neurological diagnoses through a tele-examination as opposed to ≥84% for other specialties. Conclusions: The use of telemedicine services for the delivery of outpatient neurological care is feasible and acceptable to most neurologists, although diagnostic confidence compared with in-person visits may be reduced and differs by subspecialty. Improvements in technological infrastructure and care models are needed to advance telemedicine neurological care delivery. Our data also suggest that a larger multicenter investigation of telemedicine use post-pandemic would be useful.

Keywords: implementation; neurology; technology; telemedicine.