Outcomes from a US military neurology and traumatic brain injury telemedicine program

Authors: Yurkiewicz IR, Lappan CM, Neely ET, Hesselbrock RR, Girard PD, Alphonso AL, Tsao JW.

OBJECTIVE: This study evaluated usage of the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) Telemedicine Consultation Program for neurology and traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases in remote overseas areas with limited access to subspecialists. We performed a descriptive analysis of quantity of consults, response times, sites where consults originated, military branches that benefitted, anatomic locations of problems, and diagnoses.
METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis that searched electronic databases for neurology consults from October 2006 to December 2010 and TBI consults from March 2008 to December 2010.
RESULTS: A total of 508 consults were received for neurology, and 131 consults involved TBI. For the most part, quantity of consults increased over the years. Meanwhile, response times decreased, with a mean response time of 8 hours, 14 minutes for neurology consults and 2 hours, 44 minutes for TBI consults. Most neurology consults originated in Iraq (67.59%) followed by Afghanistan (16.84%), whereas TBI consults mainly originated from Afghanistan (40.87%) followed by Iraq (33.91%). The most common consultant diagnoses were headaches, including migraines (52.1%), for neurology cases and mild TBI/concussion (52.3%) for TBI cases. In the majority of cases, consultants recommended in-theater management. After receipt of consultant's recommendation, 84 known neurology evacuations were facilitated, and 3 known neurology evacuations were prevented.
CONCLUSIONS: E-mail-based neurology and TBI subspecialty teleconsultation is a viable method for overseas providers in remote locations to receive expert recommendations for a range of neurologic conditions. These recommendations can facilitate medically necessary patient evacuations or prevent evacuations for which on-site care is preferable.

Full text and source: Neurology

Neurology. 2012 Sep 5.