Publication Date

12-1-2022

Journal

Neurology Clinical Practice

Abstract

Background and Objectives

Community emergency departments often transfer patients for lack of neurology coverage, potentially burdening patients and accepting facilities. Telestroke improves access to acute stroke care, but there is a lack of data on inpatient teleneurology and telestroke care.

Methods

From our prospective telestroke registry, we retrospectively reviewed 3702 consecutive patients who were seen via telestroke between September 2015 and December 2018. Patients who required transfer after initial telestroke evaluation or who were kept at hospitals without consistent neurology coverage were excluded from analysis. We compared baseline demographics, clinical characteristics, and hospital outcomes in patients who were subsequently followed remotely by a teleneurology neurohospitalist and those followed in person by a neurohospitalist.

Results

There were 447 (23%) patients followed by a teleneurology neurohospitalist and 1459 (77%) patients followed in person by a neurohospitalist. Both groups presented with similar stroke severity. In multivariate analysis, there were no significant differences in discharge disposition, stroke readmission rates, or 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores. Length of stay was shorter with teleneurology follow-up. In the subgroup of patients who received tissue plasminogen activator, patients showed no differences in outcomes and had similar complication rates. Teleneurology follow-up resulted in a 3% transfer rate for higher level of care after admission. There remained no difference in outcomes in a subanalysis without Comprehensive Stroke Centers. A higher proportion of non-Hispanic Black patients and a lower proportion of Hispanic patients in the teleneurology follow-up group were possibly due to spoke location demographics.

Discussion

Teleneurology follow-up resulted in comparable outcomes to in-person neurology follow-up, with few transfers after admission. For select neurology and ischemic stroke patients, teleneurology follow-up provides an alternative to transfer for hospitals lacking neurology coverage.

Included in

Neurology Commons

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