Getting seen quickly by a physician in the U.S. has become a near-impossible task. In big cities, it takes an average of 24 days to schedule a first-time appointment with a doctor, and ER wait times are so long that hundred of thousands of patients are leaving before their medical care is complete every year. These numbers are only on the up, so what are the options for patients that want access to fast, expert neurological care?
What if I told you that research has shown that getting treatment from the comfort of your very own home, through a computer screen, is just as good – if not better – than making the journey all the way to the hospital?
Some patients have expressed their doubts about telemedicine. Perhaps they feel that the doctor can’t get as complete an understanding of their condition unless they see them in person, or that they’ll continuously be paired with a random healthcare provider. Well, studies have shown that “telemedicine has demonstrated good outcomes in specialties including neurosurgery, general neurology, stroke, and epilepsy.” In this particular study, 100% of the participants said they would choose telemedicine over face-to-face visits in the future.
Telemedicine has been found to be effective specifically for headache treatment too. According to the AAN, seeing a neurologist by video for treatment may be as effective as an in-person visit. The study notes that there were no differences in the diagnosis and treatment between telemedicine and in-person treatment, and no underlying diseases were missed.
The benefits of telemedicine for patients, especially those that suffer with neurological disorders, are abundant. By receiving treatment through a screen, the barriers to care are reduced and patient engagement increases.
Patients no longer have to travel to appointments or find a driver that will take them if they are unable to drive. They are less likely to miss appointments, and are able to deliver more regular updates to their healthcare provider. All of this improves treatment plan adherence, and results in better overall health outcomes.
Nor should patients be put off by the technical aspect of telemedicine treatment. Joining an online video call is as easy as the click of a button – and with today’s technological advances, it’s like the doctor is right there in the room with you.
In addition, I often see patients in a telemedicine appointment when they want to get a second opinion. Neurology is a complicated field, and it often takes multiple people to figure out the disease or explain the condition so the patient fully understands it. Telemedicine is the perfect opportunity for patients to discuss more in-depth questions or go over a diagnosis or problem that they have.
Migraine and chronic headache are especially suited to telemedicine treatment. Both need the ability to listen and learn: the doctor hearing about the patient’s condition to make a diagnosis, and the patient to hear and learn about his or her diagnosis and how to manage it. Most of the information is gathered by verbal communication.
If you want to do away with nightmare hospital wait times, travelling to appointments, and germ-filled waiting rooms once and for all, book an online consultation with me, Dr. Risa Ravitz, here.