Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy Research
Purpose: Prompt access to specialist assessment is critical after a first suspected seizure. We aimed to test the feasibility of providing this service via telehealth, compared with usual care (face-to-face appointment) in patients referred to a first seizure clinic.
Method: This feasibility study was a prospective mixed-methods non-randomized controlled design in a single center. Patients referred to the first seizure clinic chose to receive their consultation by telehealth (intervention group) or face-to-face (usual care). Demand, practicality, acceptability and limited-efficacy testing were assessed using recruitment and routinely collected clinic data, participant surveys and a clinician focus group.
Results: Telehealth in the first seizure clinic was feasible; however, internet connection, computer hardware and software, patient confidence and organizational support impacted on practicality. Of patients who were eligible for telehealth, 25 % chose to use telehealth for their appointment, with more women taking up the opportunity. Geography and age were not factors in likelihood of uptake. There was no significant between-group difference found in acceptability and limited efficacy measures conducted.
Conclusion: Telehealth is a responsive and convenient way to reach some patients who face barriers in access to specialist neurology assessment following a first suspected seizure.