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Telemedicine OK for ICU Coma Assessment, Researchers Say

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   March 14, 2017

Assessments of coma severity were similar when conducted remotely and in person, Mayo Clinic researchers found.

Telemedicine is a reliable way to assess comatose patients, according to new research. Stroke assessments via telemedicine have been studied before, but research conducted at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona and published in Telemedicine and e-Health is the first to look specifically at using telemedicine for patients in a coma.

The study was conducted over a 15-month period and included 100 patients who were randomly assigned two Mayo Clinic physicians, one who conducted their assessments at the bedside and another who assessed patients via a desktop workstation on another floor in the same hospital.

Chasing the ROI of Telemedicine

The study's senior author, Bart Demaerschalk, MD, a professor of neurology and medical director of telemedicine at the Center for Connected Care at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, told HealthLeaders Media that a physician on a different floor could remotely drive and control the robotic telemedicine unit that was at the foot of the bed.

The physicians each used two scoring systems, the Glasgow Coma Scale and the Full Outline of UnResponsiveness Score (FOUR) scale, to independently and simultaneously assess the patients. They did not share with each other their determinations.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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