Associate perspective: Concussion Awareness Day brings spotlight to teleneurology

modern healthcare virtual health virtual briefing


With concussion awareness day this month, it is important to increase awareness that diagnosis, treatment plans, and follow-up care can be completed utilizing teleneurology services. 

Concussions are a form of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and can happen in many ways. Most people relate this to a sports injury, but the most common cause is a fall. They can happen practically anywhere at any time, from a car wreck to slipping on the stairs, being struck by an object, to childhood accidents.

These types of injuries can cause the brain to shift back and forth in the skull, resulting in chemical changes to the brain and damaged brain cells. These shifts can temporarily alter neurologic functioning, like how someone thinks, sleeps, or acts. Although some healthcare providers describe these injuries as mild because they are not life-threatening, you should consult a healthcare provider as soon as you can if you think you have suffered a concussion.

Failure to receive a prompt medical assessment following a head injury can delay the diagnosis of severe forms of TBI, spine injuries, or other serious neurologic conditions leading to death or disability. In the instance of head injuries in sports, athletes who do not receive care are at risk of being put back into the game prematurely, often resulting in recurrent damage and more severe or prolonged symptoms.

You may wonder how telemedicine fits in these cases. In most circumstances, medical personnel assesses the patient onsite (or where they are located) while a neurologist observes in a remote location. Obtaining a good history and neurologic exam through a video connection is essential in diagnosing and devising a treatment plan. With concussions and other neurologic disorders, success is based on the ability to perform the exam and answer questions appropriately. Having telemedicine capabilities also allows family members to participate in the consultation and provide additional information. In some instances of high-risk injury, radiographic images may be needed and even hospitalization.

Patients who have already had the in-person assessment may also be seen in outpatient telemedicine settings for ongoing treatment of their acute concussion or persistent post-concussion symptoms. Those that live in remote or rural areas with limited access to onsite neurology care will benefit from teleneurology services for their recovery.

While access to neurologists remains challenging to those living in rural or remote communities, telemedicine can provide that specialty care for patients with a broad spectrum of neurologic disorders. Not only can teleneurologists diagnose conditions through telemedicine services, but they can also put your patients back on the road to recovery!    


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