Telemedicine effective in assessing coma patients

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Improving access to care in critically ill patients is a major factor in earlier treatment, and telemedicine could be the best option. A recent study, published in Telemedicine and e-Health, found telemedicine to be an effective tool in evaluating level on consciousness (LOC) in coma patients.

The study analyzes the effectiveness of telemedicine, when compared to bedside evaluation, of LOC patients with either the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) or Full Outline of UnResponsiveness (FOUR). Total scores for both tests were compared in 100 patients, split evenly into the two groups.

Results showed that mean GCS scores at bedside was 7.5 compared to 7.23 for telemedicine. Mean FOUR score at bedside was 9.63 compared to 9.21 for telemedicine.

“Differences between total bedside and remote GCS and FOUR scores were small,” concluded Amelia K. Adcock, MD, first author on the study, and colleagues. “These results suggest that LOC can be reliably assessed using existing robotic telemedicine technology. Telemedicine could be adopted to help evaluate critically ill patients in neurologically underserved areas.”