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During the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on reimbursement for telehealth visits were lifted and this visit type was suddenly available to patients around the United States of America. Telehealth visits offer potential cost savings for patients and families, which may vary by region of the world studied. Also, aggressiveness of the care patients receive may differ, and patients or families may be more likely to choose one visit type over another based on seizure control. This is a prospective face-to-face clinic versus telehealth clinic visit comparison study involving patients with seizures, their legal guardians, and caretakers who attend clinic. We compared travel distance, work-related factors, childcare, satisfaction of care, changes in seizure medication or diagnostics tests ordered, and willingness to cancel appointments to better understand the behavioral patterns of patients, caretakers, and providers. Our results indicate that many patients and families still prefer in-person interactions with their medical providers. Patient and family satisfaction levels were equal with both visit types. No significant difference was seen in medical management between face-to-face and telehealth visits. Also, prior seizure control did not dictate the type of visit chosen. Telehealth participants were significantly more willing to cancel appointments if asked to switch to face-to-face then face-to-face participants asked to complete telehealth visits. Surprisingly, we found that patients and families choosing telehealth were not statistically more likely to be employed or take less time off work. Also, distance from home to office was not significantly shorter for participants choosing face-to-face visits. Offering a combination of telehealth and face-to-face visits appears to be the optimal strategy in caring for patients with controlled and uncontrolled seizure disorders to ensure adherence with clinic visits and satisfaction with care. Our study suggests that providers are equally willing to adjust medications or order additional diagnostic testing regardless of visit type. Patients and families may be less likely to cancel telehealth visits than face-to-face visits; this finding may translate to improved seizure control and long-term decreased cost of care. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Holly J Skinner, Maritsa Casares, Christina Wombles, Kereen Brooks, Ammar Hussain, Joo Hee Seo, Elakkat D Gireesh, Angel O Claudio, Ki H Lee, Michelle Hill, Michael Westerveld. Comparison of care accessibility, costs, and quality with face-to-face and telehealth epilepsy clinic visits. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B. 2022 Feb;127:108510

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PMID: 34991054

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