Background: Since the beginning of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic in Israel in early 2020, follow-up visits through phone consultations were available only for patients treated in our outpatient epilepsy clinic. Objective: To assess the potential feasibility of phone consultation instead of in-person first visit in the outpatient epilepsy clinic. Methods: The computerized database and medical records of all the patients who had an in-person first visit in our outpatient epilepsy clinic during a 4-year period (2018-2021) were retrospectively reviewed. Potential feasibility of a remote visit was assessed for all visits and was deemed possible when physical examination or vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) examination or parameter adjustment was not reported in the visit summary. Results: The study group included 462 patients who had an in-person first visit in the outpatient epilepsy clinic during the study period. A remote first visit was deemed potentially feasible in 404 (87%) patients. Those in whom a remote first visit was deemed potentially infeasible were older (p = 0.0001), with longer disease duration (p = 0.001) and higher rates of antiseizure medication polytherapy (p = 0.0001), VNS and additional symptoms (p = 0.0001). Conclusions: A remote visit may be potentially feasible for most patients who are scheduled for a first visit in the epilepsy clinic. An in-person visit may remain the preferred option for patients with additional neurological symptoms or a VNS, and may also be considered in older patients and those with longer disease duration or antiseizure medication polytherapy.
- Antiseizure medications
- Nonepileptic seizure