BackgroundTo determine whether telemedicine improves access to outpatient neurology care for underserved patients, we compared appointment completion between urban, in-person clinics and telemedicine clinics held in rural and underserved communities where neurology consultations are provided remotely.MethodsIn this retrospective study, we identified patients scheduled for outpatient care from UCDH pediatric neurologists between January 1, 2009, and July 31, 2017, in person and by telemedicine. Demographic and clinical variables were abstracted from electronic medical records. We evaluated the association between consultation modality and visit completion in overall and matched samples using hierarchical multivariable logistic regression.ResultsWe analyzed 13,311 in-person appointments by 3,831 patients and 1,158 telemedicine appointments by 381 patients. The average travel time to the site of care was 45.8 ± 52.1 minutes for the in-person cohort and 22.3 ± 22.7 minutes for the telemedicine cohort. Telemedicine sites were located at an average travel time of 217.1 ± 114.8 minutes from UCDH. Telemedicine patients were more likely to have nonprivate insurance, lower education, and lower household income. They had different diagnoses and fewer complex chronic conditions. Telemedicine visits were more likely to be completed than either "cancelled" or missed ("no show") compared with in-person visits (OR 1.57, 95% CI: 1.34-1.83; OR 1.66, 95% CI: 1.31-2.10 matched on travel time to the site of care; OR 2.22, 95% CI: 1.66-2.98 matched on travel time to UCDH).ConclusionsThe use of telemedicine for outpatient pediatric neurology visits has high odds of completion and can serve as an equal adjunct to in-person clinic visits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology