Comparison of #telemedicine with in-person care for follow-up after elective neurosurgery: results of a cost-effectiveness analysis of 1200 patients

A Comparison of telemedicine with in-person care for follow-up after elective neurosurgery: results of a cost-effectiveness analysis of 1200 patients using patient-perceived utility scores


Sumit Thakar, MCh,1 Niranjana Rajagopal, DNB,1 Subramaniyan Mani, MTech,2 Maya Shyam, PGDM,3 Saritha Aryan, MS, MCh,1 Arun S. Rao, DNB,1 Rakshith Srinivasa, MCh,1 Dilip Mohan, MS, MCh, DNB,1 and Alangar S. Hegde, MCh, PhD 1Department of Neurological Sciences, 2Hospital Management Information System, and 3Finance and Accounts, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore, India


The utility of telemedicine (TM) in neurosurgery is underexplored, with most of the studies relating to teletrauma or telestroke programs. In this study, the authors evaluate the cost-effectiveness of TM consultations for followup care of a large population of patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures.


A decision-analytical model was used to assess the cost-effectiveness of TM for elective post–neurosurgical care patients from a predominantly nonurban cohort in West Bengal, India. The model compared TM care via a nodal center in West Bengal to routine, in-person, per-episode care at the provider site in Bangalore, India. 

Cost and effectiveness data relating to 1200 patients were collected for a 52-month period. The effectiveness of TM care was calculated using efficiency in terms of the percentage of successful TM consultations, as well as patient-perceived utility values for overall experience of the type of health care access that they received. 

Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) analysis was done using the 4-quadrant charting of the cost-effectiveness plane. One-way sensitivity and tornado analyses were performed to identify thresholds where the care strategy would change.


The overall utility for the 3 TM scenarios was found to be higher (89%) than for the utility of routine care (80%). TM was found to be more cost-effective (Indian rupee [INR] 2630 per patient) compared to routine care (INR 6848 per patient). 

The TM strategy “dominates” that of routine care by being more effective and less expensive (ICER value of -39,400 INR/unit of effectiveness). Sensitivity analysis revealed that cost-effectiveness of TM was most sensitive to changes in the number of TM patients, utility and success rate of TM, and travel distance to the TM center.


TM care dominates the in-person care strategy by providing more effective and less expensive follow-up care for a remote post–neurosurgical care population in India. In the authors’ setting, this benefit of TM is sustainable even if half the TM consultations turn out to be unsuccessful. The viability of TM as a cost-effective care protocol is attributed to a combination of factors, like an adequate patient volume utilizing TM, patient utility, success rate of TM, and the patient travel distance.

Link to Full Article :
Link to VIDEO Presentation by the Authors:
The Article has been published earlier and is re-published here with the author’s permission


Sumit Thakar: Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore, India | Mani, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore, India.

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