A Teleneuropsychology Consultation Service Model for Children with Neurodevelopmental and Acquired Disorders Residing in Rural State Regions

Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2020 Oct 29:acaa099. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acaa099. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Accessing neuropsychological services, which are often centralized in urban regions, poses unique challenges to children and families in rural regions. In 2017, urban neuropsychologists and a pediatrician practicing in a rural region of New Mexico started to develop a teleneuropsychology (TeleNP) consultation service model to efficiently triage and determine a clinical course of action. This pilot project, aimed at expanding clinical access to specialized pediatric services in rural areas, evolved over the course of 2 years prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

METHOD: Providers earned the trust of the local community, gained understanding of pertinent sociocultural factors, and acquired knowledge of the clinical and educational concerns for the children residing in the rural community. The application of a culturally informed approach that highlights the importance of community participation and collaboration steered the decision to implement a TeleNP consultation model. By widening access to neuropsychology, this service helped to determine whether neuropsychological testing procedures were medically indicated.

RESULTS: We summarize the distinct processes that needed to occur at each location to support the implementation of telemedicine. We propose a clinical service decision tree with specific criteria to help guide providers on how to triage cases in order to increase access to specialized healthcare.

CONCLUSION: The success of implementing a TeleNP consultation service hinges upon ongoing care coordination between providers, clerical staff, patients, and families with clear goals and expectations, maintenance of legal and ethical standards, and development of specific administrative and clinical processes supporting the use of TeleNP.

PMID:33124658 | DOI:10.1093/arclin/acaa099