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HSR&D Citation Abstract

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Wilson AM, Jamal NI, Cheng EM, Inkelas M, Saliba D, Hanssen A, Torres JA, Ong MK. Teleneurology clinics for polyneuropathy: a pilot study. Journal of Neurology. 2020 Feb 1; 267(2):479-490.
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Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Polyneuropathy (PN) is a common condition with significant morbidity. We developed tele-polyneuropathy (tele-PN) clinics to improve access to neurology and increase guideline-concordant PN care. This article describes the mixed-methods evaluation of pilot tele-PN clinics at three community sites within the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System. METHODS: For the first 25 patients (48 scheduled visits), we recorded the duration of the tele-PN visit and exam; the performance on three guideline-concordant care indicators (PN screening labs, opiate reduction, physical therapy for falls); and patient-satisfaction scores. We elicited comments about the tele-PN clinic from patients and the clinical team. We combined descriptive statistics with qualitative themes to determine the feasibility and acceptability of the tele-PN clinics. RESULTS: The average tele-PN encounter and exam times were 28.5 and 9.1 min, respectively. PN screening lab completion increased from 80 to 100%. Opiate freedom improved from 68 to 88%. Physical therapy for patients with recent falls increased from 58 to 100%. The tele-PN clinic was preferred for follow-up over in-person clinics in 86% of cases. Convenience was paramount to the clinic's success, saving an average of 231 min per patient in round-trip travel. The medical team's caring and collaborative spirit received high praise. While the clinic's efficiency was equal or superior to in-person care, the limited treatment options for PN and the small clinical exam space are areas for improvement. CONCLUSION: In this pilot, we were able to efficiently see and examine patients remotely, promote guideline-concordant PN care, and provide a high-satisfaction encounter.

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