Having previously demonstrated that in-patients referred to neurology at two UK hospitals were not fully examined prior to referral, we designed an audit with 80% power to detect a 10% increase in tendon hammer or ophthalmoscope use following an educational intervention.
In-patients referred to neurology over a 4 month period in the UK, Jordan, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates were asked whether they recalled examination with a Tendon hammer, Ophthalmoscope and Stethoscope since admission. Results were disseminated to local medical teams and data were collected for a further 4 months. Pre and post-intervention data were available for 11 centres with 407 and 391 patients in each arm. 264 patients (64.86%) recalled examination with a tendon hammer pre-intervention, which significantly improved to 298 (76.21%) (p<0.001). 119 (29.24%) recollected ophthalmoscopy pre-intervention, which significantly improved to 149 (38.11%) (p=0.009). 321 (78.87%) recalled examination with a stethoscope pre-intervention, which significantly improved to 330 (84.4%) (p=0.045). Most patients were not fully examined prior to neurology referral, yet a simple assessment score and educational intervention can improve the standard of neurological examination. This is the largest and – to our knowledge – only study to assess the standard of neurological examination internationally. This has implications for national neurological educators.