Telemedicine and telehealth systems have already shown the potential to transform the way health care is delivered, and the role for this approach is expected to increase moving forward. Neurology is well-suited to the use of video consults and other technologies to provide care for a number of reasons. Research has shown that access to neurologists varies across regions, and bringing the neurologist to the patient and family may be more feasible than having the patient come to the clinic or hospital in some cases. Along those same lines, some neurology patients may have mobility or other logistical issues that impede their ability to be seen regularly in clinic. Finally, a considerable amount of follow-up care for neurologic disorders involves interval history-taking and patient/family counseling, activities which lend themselves well to video encounters and other telehealth modalities. Our own Dr. E. Ray Dorsey, Director of the URMC Center for Health + Technology, is a national leader in teleneurology research and implementation.
Under the direction of Dr. Adam Kelly, Director of Teleneurology at URMC, our department is creating and implementing unique, in-demand teleneurology services in multiple arenas:
- Inpatient general Neurology and telestroke consultations, partnering with our affiliated regional hospitals and several other healthcare systems throughout New York State
- Telestroke consultations utilizing the region’s only Mobile Stroke Unit, which launched in the fall of 2018
- Outpatient clinical and research visits for patients with Parkinson’s disease
- Utilization of televisits for ALS patients participating in clinical trials
Our residency program is committed to providing our trainees with a strong educational foundation in telemedicine, so they can be prepared to deliver care in this format as the field continues to expand and evolve. As recipient of a Faculty Innovation in Education Award from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Dr. Colleen Tomcik has developed a multifaceted, longitudinal educational program for Neurology residents. This includes observational outpatient teleneurology experiences in Movement Disorders and Pediatric Neurology, as well as shadowing on the inpatient telestroke service. Chief residents will complete a web-based didactic curriculum highlighting technical, clinical, and medicolegal aspects of teleneurology. They will also perform mock teleneurology visits using both standardized and actual patients, observed and evaluated by clinical faculty well-versed in providing patient care using this technology. We hope to continue to expand our resident teleneurology educational curriculum over time, using what we learn from this pilot program exclusive to URMC.