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The objective of this study was to investigate an e-health approach to managing patients presenting with vascular-type symptoms. A pilot study of a prospective cohort of patients referred from a single general practitioner practice of 5700 patients using electronic referral, assessment by a practice nurse, and teleconferencing facilities as an adjunct to normal referral and management practice was designed and conducted. Thirty-eight patients aged 30-93 years old (median 72 years) were enrolled in the study between March 2001 and July 2004. Twelve patients had leg ulceration and 12 complained of leg pain. The remainder had a range of symptoms potentially vascular in nature. All but 1 patient had an initial teleconsultation. This initial teleconsultation lasted a median of 11 minutes (interquartile range 9 minutes (min) 59 seconds (sec)-12 min 43 sec). For 10 patients this was their only contact with the hospital. One patient had teleconsultation follow-up only, 26 patients attended the hospital for vascular laboratory studies or angiography, and 8 of these went on to have radiological and/or surgical intervention. Three patients attended the outpatient department for follow up; all other follow-ups were managed via the teleclinic. Overall, 57 standard outpatient attendances in these patients were replaced by teleconsultations. Common vascular-type symptoms can be satisfactorily evaluated across a telelink with the aid of a practice nurse and baseline patient data transmitted electronically. Decisions can be made regarding the need for further investigation and attendance in outpatient clinic can be largely eliminated.

Original publication

DOI

10.1089/tmj.2006.12.672

Type

Journal article

Journal

Telemed J E Health

Publication Date

12/2006

Volume

12

Pages

672 - 680

Keywords

Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Medical History Taking, Middle Aged, Outpatients, Pilot Projects, Remote Consultation, Vascular Surgical Procedures