For many people, a neurology appointment requires travel and time off work.
You'll be glad to hear you have another option: a virtual neurology visit.
Neurology telemedicine visits can bring you more timely and convenient care.
UPMC's Approach to Teleneurology
Through a UPMC patient portal, you can:
- Book a neurology appointment.
- Choose the doctor you wish to see.
- Describe the reason for the request.
UPMC teleneurology will offer you a virtual visit if:
- You prefer an online rather than in-person visit, and
- We're able to address your concern through a video visit.
If you're eligible for a teleneurology visit, we'll send you appointment times within 1 to 2 business days of your request. Once you confirm a time, we'll send you a message via your patient portal on how to log in to your appointment.
All you need is internet access and a device that supports video calls, such as a:
- Desktop computer
What to Expect During a Teleneurology Visit
During your visit, the neurologist may:
- Talk with you to assess speech, memory, cognitive function, and more.
- Ask you to touch part of your face to check your movements and coordination.
- Look at your eye movements and pupil size.
Your video visit can help your neurologist:
- Find signs of a wide range of treatable disorders.
- Adjust your medications.
- Refer you for other treatments or further tests, such as bloodwork or imaging scans. You can often get these tests at a center close to your home.
Before you complete your visit, your neurologist's office staff will book follow-up video or in-person appointments.
Teleneurology for memory loss
One example of a type of neurology appointment that can often be done through telemedicine is an evaluation for memory loss. If you have problems with mobility or other issues, but would like to discuss your symptoms with a neurologist, video visits can be a good way to explain what is happening to you. You may want a caregiver with you during your appointment to help describe the issues.
During your online visit, the neurologist will:
- Talk to you about prior diagnoses and symptoms.
- Ask you and your caregiver to give examples of memory issues.
- Ask when you or your loved ones first noticed your memory loss.
- Do short cognitive tests and may order more tests, such as an MRI or blood work.
- Refer you to a specialist, such as a neuropsychologist.
- Diagnose your condition, either at the first appointment or a follow-up visit after getting your test results.
- Explain next steps and offer options for managing or treating symptoms.
Virtual visits may not help people who have new symptoms or other problems besides memory loss, such as falls, tremors and vision changes.
In these cases, an office visit is best. But when memory loss is the only issue, teleneurology visits are easy and effective.
Benefits of Teleneurology Visits
With a neurology telemedicine visit, you save time and effort. You may be able to avoid taking time off work and driving to an office appointment.
Video visits are especially helpful if you:
- Have debilitating symptoms.
- Have problems with mobility.
- Have a busy schedule.
- Live far away from a neurologist's clinic or major hospital.
Is a UPMC Teleneurology Visit Right for Me?
We offer virtual visits to both new and current UPMC neurology patients.
A teleneurology visit is ideal for people who:
- Have symptoms for which a neurologic exam is not always critical for initial or followup evaluation.
- Need ongoing management and treatment of a chronic disease like epilepsy.
- Have a minor issue or question about their diagnosis or treatment.
For issues like movement problems and muscle weakness, in-person appointments may be best. Doctors often use touch and closely observe the muscles to diagnose these disorders.
Most insurance plans cover telemedicine visits. Still, it's a good idea to contact your insurer to confirm coverage.