Position Statement

AANS/CNS Position Statement on Telemedicine

  • AANS/CNS Washington Office


In 1996, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published the report “Telemedicine: A Guide to Assessing Telecommunications for Health Care,” where telemedicine was defined as “the use of electronic information and communications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates participants.” There are currently three broad categories of telemedicine technologies: store-and-forward, remote monitoring and (real-time) interactive services — demonstrating that since the release of the IOM report, the definitions of telemedicine and telehealth have continued to evolve, and further change is certain.

Neurological surgery is a high-acuity specialty with a limited number of practitioners. As a result, urgent or emergent transfer of patients to tertiary hospitals with continuous neurosurgical coverage is frequently required. Transfers may be affected for consultation due to the natural risk aversion of nonspecialist physicians who may be faced with a neurosurgical condition and feel ill-equipped to assess the patient or offer treatment. Neurosurgical providers are not evenly geographically distributed, which can place a significant travel burden on patients, especially those with non-urgent issues. The disparity between the availability of neurosurgical services and the time-sensitive nature of neurosurgical conditions has led to an interest in using electronic technologies to overcome these challenges.

Click here to view the full AANS/CNS Position Statement on Telemedicine.