INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE
URGENT RESEARCH GRANT
£49,979 over 12 months
Awarded in 2020

PROJECT TITLE

Comparing interactions in remote and face-to-face seizure clinic consultations

LEAD INVESTIGATOR

Professor Markus Reuber

CO-INVESTIGATORS

Dr Joseph Ford (Loughborough University)

INSTITUTION

University of Sheffield

We know that teleconsultations are more convenient for patients with epilepsy. We also know that they present certain challenges. By identifying these challenges and finding ways to deal with them, teleconsultations can be not just a temporary solution, but an important part of neurological practice in the future.
Professor Markus Reuber

BACKGROUND

Due to COVID-19, patients with epilepsy are routinely speaking to their neurologists over the phone or the internet rather than face-to-face. These ‘teleconsultations’ have certain advantages (e.g. convenience) but are also limited in many ways. The aim of this research is to understand exactly how teleconsultations differ from traditional in-person consultations.

THE STUDY

We will be recording at least 30 real-life neurologist-patient teleconsultations. We will also be interviewing the neurologists and patients featured in these recordings. We will then use a research method called Conversation Analysis to compare these teleconsultations with 50 in-person consultations, which we recorded before the pandemic. This will allow us to describe differences between the consultation methods and to identify possible problems with teleconsultations. The interviews will allow us to relate actual conversations with how people thought the consultations had gone.

SIGNIFICANCE

By analysing how teleconsultations unfold, we will be able to identify both effective and ineffective communication practices and make recommendations accordingly. This will help to improve remote teleconsultations not only for the duration of the pandemic, but in the long term.