Telemedicine as effective as in-person consultation for headache

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A new study provides Class III evidence that a one-time telemedicine consultation for non-acute headache is non-inferior to a one-time traditional consultation.

Telemedicine consultation for non-acute headache is as efficient and safe as a traditional consultation, concludes a new study published in Neurology .

For the study, 402 people with non-acute headaches were randomised receive a consultation via telemedicine (n = 200) or in the traditional manner (n = 202).

The researchers found no differences between the groups in relation to the Headache Impact Test-6 (p = 0.84) or pain intensity visual analogue scale (p = 0.64) over three periods.

The authors identified one secondary headache in each group at 12 months. They estimated that in every 20,200 consultations by telemedicine, one diagnosis of secondary headache would be missed.

The study was undertaken in Norway, where accessing healthcare can be difficult for many people. Writing in Neurology, the authors said telemedicine could compensate for the lack of headache specialists in an area. “The fact that headaches often are under-diagnosed and sub-optimally treated in general practice encourages use of telemedicine to countervail these circumstances,” they said.


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