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Setting up a telemedicine service for remote real-time video-EEG consultation in La Rioja (Spain).

Int J Med Inform. 2012 Feb 9 Campos C, Caudevilla E, Alesanco A, Lasierra N, Martinez O, Fernández J, García J. Section of Neurophysiology, San Pedro Hospital, Logroño, Spain.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to report and discuss a successful experience in the setting up of a telemedicine solution for remote video-electroencephalography consultation (tele-EEG) in La Rioja, Spain. The setup has been implemented between a primary hospital situated in Calahorra (Calahorra Hospital Foundation, FHC) and a secondary hospital in Logroño (San Pedro Hospital, HSP), the capital city of the region of La Rioja.

METHODS: During the twelve first months of the setting-up a detailed evaluation study was performed. During this period we evaluated the technical aspects of the setup and also demonstrated the clinical viability of the system. The impact on hospital organization and the impact on patients regarding the improvement in their quality of life, as well as their financial savings, were also evaluated.

RESULTS: During these twelve months a total of 259 consultations were conducted through the telemedicine system. The clinical viability study was completely successful, and technical problems were detected only during the first months of setting-up. Regarding patients' preferences (177 completed an opinion questionnaire), 99% expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the telemedicine service. They also remarked that they preferred the telemedicine service to previous methods for the EEG test, on the grounds that it provided a significant improvement in access to specialized medical care and important financial savings in terms of travel (around 30€ per visit) and of time (approximately 2h) invested in consultations.

CONCLUSIONS: After one year of evaluation, we concluded that the tele-EEG system had been successfully introduced into the clinical routine. As a matter of fact, the success of the telemedicine system has led to its widespread use and it has now replaced the conventional EEG service for FHC patients almost completely.

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