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Open Access Research article

Formative evaluation of a telemedicine model for delivering clinical neurophysiology services part II: The referring clinician and patient perspective

Patricia Breen1, Kevin Murphy2, Geraldine Browne3, Fiona Molloy3, Valerie Reid3, Colin Doherty4, Norman Delanty1, Sean Connolly5 and Mary Fitzsimons1*

Author Affiliations

1 Epilepsy Programme, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland

2 Department of Neurology, Sligo General Hospital, Sligo, Ireland

3 Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland

4 Department of Neurology, St. James's Hospital, James's Street, Dublin 8, Ireland

5 Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4, Ireland

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2010, 10:49  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-49

Published: 15 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Feedback from service users will provide insight into opportunities for improvement so that performance can be optimised. In the context of a formative evaluation referring clinician and patient satisfaction with a teleneurophysiology service was examined during a 20 week pilot period.

Methods

Questionnaire surveys of referring clinicians and patients were conducted.

Results

Fifteen (58%) clinicians responded to the first part of a postal survey which examined their satisfaction with traditional clinical neurophysiology services. Nine (35%) responded to a second part which assessed their experience with the teleneurophysiology service. Teleneurophysiology improved satisfaction with waiting times, availability of results and impact on patient management. There was unanimous support from the clinicians for the permanent development of a teleneurophysiology service, although 2 cautioned this could delay establishing a neurology service in their region.

Eighty-two percent (116/142) of patients responded to a survey of their satisfaction with teleneurophysiology. This was compared to a previous report of 322 patients' experience with traditional CN services in Ireland. Waiting times for appointment were shorter for the former group who supported the telemedicine model recognising that it reduced the travel burden and need for overnight journeys. The two groups were equally anxious about the investigation although the teleneurophysiology patients received more prior information.

Conclusion

This study illustrates that teleneurophysiology is an acceptable model of service delivery for its primary customers. Their feedback is important in informing appropriate design and governance of such innovative models of health service provision.