A diagnosis of a brain tumor often brings fear and lengthy travel to a far-away specialist for a second opinion. The fear is understandable, but a teleneurology program is making strides in bringing brain tumor diagnoses and treatment options to the patient, rather than bringing the patient to the doctor. The Penn Brain Tumor Center has launched their Brain Tumor Second Opinion Program to help patients and caregivers understand the diagnosis and choose among treatment plans without traveling long distances.
Under the program, a Penn neurosurgeon works with the patient’s local provider to review his/her medical history, images, and current diagnosis before making a recommendation for the best form of treatment. The goal is to provide the best medical care possible regardless of where patients live, explained Steven Brem, co-director of the Brain Tumor Center and director of Neurosurgical Oncology.
The program will expand in phases, with the first phase encompassing the southeastern states of the US. Penn hopes to extend their reach during the next year.
Teleneurology is already being used to help diagnose and treat strokes. At the Texas Oncology–Austin Brain Tumor Center, cancer treatments can be partially managed via telemedicine; this makes the brain cancer expertise more accessible to a wider population.
At Penn Medicine, teleneurology for brain tumors is the latest addition to its lineup of telemedicine specialty services, including teleICU, teledermatology, teleophthalmology, transplant, and post-op surgical visits, among others.