Telemedicine may be as effective for neurological disorders as in-person office visits, analysis finds

Video consultations with a physician may be just as effective for treating patients with neurological disorders than in-person examinations, according to a Dec. 4 evidence review published in the American Academy of Neurology.

For the review of evidence, Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest School of Medicine and Augusta (Ga.) University researchers analyzed 101 studies in areas of concussion and traumatic brain injury, dementia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular conditions and general neurology, among other conditions.

Telemedicine extends care accessibility to people with epilepsy, who may be unable to drive to appointments, as well as people with mobility issues stemming from neurologic disorders such as multiple sclerosis. Virtual care also helps address geographic barriers by allowing patients in rural areas to see a neurologist through telemedicine technology instead of having to travel hours for in-person care, said lead author Jaime Hatcher-Martin, MD, PhD, a member of AAN, according to the news release.

The studies' analysis found that patients and their caregivers were equally satisfied with virtual physician visits and in-person appointments. Some studies showed that the use of telemedicine is as effective as in-person care to make accurate diagnoses. However, the researchers noted that there have been few randomized, controlled studies on telemedicine for neurology apart from stroke care.

Review authors concluded that more studies need to be conducted to better understand when telemedicine is a good option for the patient.

More articles on telehealth:
States continue to adopt telehealth commercial payer coverage, survey finds
Illinois hospital, medical group launch telehealth system for rural patients with diabetes
Stanford Health Care deploys telehealth platform to bridge gaps in emergency care

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