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


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

Ilana R. Yurkiewicz, BS,

Charles M. Lappan, MPA, MBA,

Edward T. Neely, MD,

Roger R. Hesselbrock, MD,

Philip D. Girard, MS,

Aimee L. Alphonso, BS and

Jack W. Tsao, MD, DPhil

+ Author Affiliations

From the Harvard Medical School (I.R.Y.), Boston, MA; Office of the Surgeon General Teleconsultation Programs Project Manager (C.M.L.), Telehealth, Southern Regional Medical Command, Ft. Sam Houston, TX; Department of Neurology (E.T.N., A.L.A.), Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD; Aerospace Medicine Consultation Division (R.R.H.), United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Dayton, OH; Department of Veterans Affairs, Center (P.D.G.), Gainesville, FL; US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (J.W.T.), Washington, DC; and Department of Neurology (J.W.T.), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD.

Correspondence & reprint requests to Dr. Tsao: jack.tsao@usuhs.edu

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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.


Supplemental data at www.neurology.org

Received June 24, 2011.

Accepted May 1, 2012.

Copyright ? 2012 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.

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