Epilepsy Action and Epilepsy Research UK are jointly funding a new research project comparing remote and face-to-face seizure clinic consultations.
The research, led by Prof Markus Reuber, will aim to help clinicians improve how they communicate in remote clinics and avoid pitfalls in this type of appointment.
The study will start at the beginning of 2021 and will be carried out by the University of Sheffield in the UK.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to remote clinics becoming widespread over the last nine months. Experts believe virtual consultations will continue to take place going forward, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
The study will look to understand why remote seizure consultations appear to be generally shorter. It will also shed light on how clinicians can reduce the risk of misunderstandings and how to best involve patients in making decisions about their healthcare when they are not talking face-to-face.
Lead investigator, Prof Markus Reuber, said: “I am very grateful to Epilepsy Research UK and Epilepsy Action for the opportunity to carry out this work. I think there is a risk that people with epilepsy have less opportunity to get their own ideas and wishes across when consultations are carried out over the phone. If this is true, this research should show it.
“On the plus side, we may be able to capture examples of really good ways of getting people with epilepsy involved in telephone consultations – examples which everybody could learn from.”
Angie Pullen, director of Epilepsy Services, said: “Epilepsy Action is pleased to be co-funding a study comparing remote and face-to-face clinic consultations. The Sheffield team has a track record in undertaking research into the quality of conversations.
“We believe this analysis is required at this time when rapid innovations in remote consultations have occurred to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to find out more about what works well for some people with epilepsy and when it is less successful so that services can be better planned in the future.”
More information on this study is available on the Epilepsy Research UK website.