BEVERLY HILLS—The Cedars-Sinai Neurosurgery Department is offering a tele-consultation service for patients worldwide.

The neurosurgery department receives numerous inquiries from all over the world. Dr. Keith L. Black, chairman and professor of neurosurgery, explains that they want to be able to give feedback to patients and the tele-consult program allows them to do so.

The tele-consult system allows patients far away to connect with renowned specialists at Cedars-Sinai. The patient needs only a computer, an internet connection, and a webcam with a microphone, or a cell phone. The consultation can be for a routine follow-up appointment, post-operative follow up appointment, or to review imaging tests.

According to the Cedars-Sinai website, there are additional steps to review the imaging studies. First, the patient must contact the department. Then the patient’s physician must fill out a medical history form available on the Cedars-Sinai website, and the patient must send the form, the imaging study or a CD of the study, and an administrative fee of $65 to the neurosurgery department. The review is usually done within 10 business days, but may take up to 3 weeks.

Katie Lewis, resident of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, had used this tele-consultation service. When Katie was seven months pregnant with her third son, her right eye stopped tearing. After numerous local consults she was told that nothing was wrong. In November 2012, a mass was found close to her brain stem. A biopsy was taken in March 2013 and the tumor was determined to be benign. One year later, in 2014, Katie started experiencing double vision. She was advised to start radiation as the tumor was inoperable.

Katie Lewis explains how she used Cedar Sinai tele-consult service
Katie Lewis explains how she used Cedar Sinai tele-consult service

After seeking a second opinion from Cedars-Sinai tele-consult services, Dr. Keith Black referred her to one of the specialists, Dr. Michael Alexander. Dr. Alexander, via tele-consult, did an eye exam, other basic examinations, and went through the imaging studies with her.

Katie’s tumor was a complex, vascular tumor which though inoperable by a regular neurosurgeon, was operable by someone who had the expertise in that area of the skull. She was driven in for a surgery, and her double vision went away in 2 weeks.

The Cedars-Sinai Neurosurgery Department offers this tele-consult service as a way to connect with specialists that are nationally or internationally renowned without having to fly in or travel from far away places.