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Telemedicine in neurology: Underutilized potential

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Author(s): Misra U | Kalita J | Mishra S | Yadav R

Journal: Neurology India
ISSN 0028-3886

Volume: 53;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 27;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: Telemedicine | stroke | epilepsy | patient care | neurology | meningitis | movement disorder

ABSTRACT
Advances in telecommunication which started with telephone lines, FAX, integrated service digital network (ISDN) lines and now internet have provided an unprecedented opportunity for transfer of knowledge and sharing of information. The information can be used for overlapping applications in patient care, teaching and research. In medicine there is increasing utilization of telemedicine; radiology and pathology being regarded as mature specialties and emergency medicine as maturing specialties compared to other evolving specialties which include psychiatry, dermatology, cardiology and ophthalmology. Of the emergencies, status epilepticus and stroke have high potential for improving patient management. Administration of tPA was more frequent when carried out under telemedicine guidance. Telemedicine has great potential for medical education. The principles of education are in congruence with those of telemedicine and can be closely integrated in the existing medical education system. Our experience of telemedicine as a medical education tool is based on video conferencing with SCB Medical College, Cuttack. We had 30 sessions during 2001 to 2004 in which 2-3 cases were discussed in each session. The patients′ details, radiological and neurophysiological findings could be successfully transmitted. These conferences improved the knowledge of participants, provided an opportunity for a second opinion as well as modified the treatment decisions in some cases. The advances in telemedicine should be utilized more extensively in neurology, especially in emergency management, epilepsy and stroke patients as well, as it may have a role in neurophysiology and movement disorders.
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