August 3, 2020

Bridging the Gap in Epilepsy Care: A Single-Center Experience of 3,700 Outpatient Tele-Epilepsy Visits

Abstract, published in Epilepsia

This paper describes the largest-to-date single-center implementation of tele-epilepsy. Beginning in 2017, all patients at a single tertiary care academic epilepsy center were offered the option to complete outpatient follow-up visits via video conferencing using personal devices.

A retrospective review of all patients who self-selected virtual visits over nearly 3 years showed 2,140 patients completed 3,698 tele-epilepsy visits, with 41% completing more than one visit during the study period. Based on the distance from the center to the home address, 26.7% of patients were local (less than 50 miles), 30.5% were near regional (51-150 miles), 20.1% were far regional (151-270 miles), and 22.7% were remote (>270 miles), from 43 different states. An estimated 928,696 miles of travel was prevented, with a median travel distance saved of 124.5 miles. The average visit time was 15.7 (±10.4) minutes.

More than 90% of patients gave the visit and provider experience the maximum rating, with a nearly 60% response rate on the post-visit survey. Virtual outpatient follow-up care provides a convenient way to connect with epilepsy specialists and reduce the burden of care by cutting travel time. Our experience demonstrates that outpatient tele-epilepsy is feasible, sustainable, and scalable.

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