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Descriptive Analysis of Patients Receiving Outpatient eConsults for Neurological Disorders in the United States

HumanInsight Descriptive Analysis of Patients Receiving Outpatient eConsults for Neurological Disorders in the United States

Telemed J E Health. 2024 Mar 25. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2023.0598. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Interprofessional consultations ("eConsults"), which facilitate asynchronous specialist consultations, remain understudied in neurological disorders. We aimed to describe the patient population receiving eConsult services for neurological disorders nationwide and to conduct a comparative analysis between rural and urban patients within this eConsult cohort. Methods: We analyzed a dataset of U.S. outpatient claims from employer-sponsored commercial and Medicare plans. Using standardized mean differences, we compared clinical and sociodemographic patient characteristics between urban and rural patients within the eConsult group. Results: We identified 1,374 patients who had an eConsult order for a neurological disorder. Overall eConsult volume increased by 548.5% between 2019 and 2021. A majority of the cohort were aged 65 years or older (23.7%), had an eConsult order in 2021 (52.4%), and live in an urban area (90.4%). The primary diagnosis for our cohort was likely to be a sleep-wake disorder (21.9%), cerebrovascular disease (14.3%), neurological sign or symptom (14.2%), or headache (13.7%). In the secondary analysis, rural eConsult patients exhibited higher rates of primary diagnoses for traumatic brain injury, neuroophthalmic disorders, or neuropathy than their urban counterparts. Discussion: In this national sample of commercially insured patients, the utilization of eConsults for neurological conditions increased nationwide since 2019, especially for patients living in rural areas.

PMID:38527283 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2023.0598

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