The RP-7 also has an "arm" equipped with a touch-screen programmer, which the nurse can use to program the stimulator. The expert can "telestrate" to indicate to the nurse the correct buttons to push on the programming device.
Access to Specialists in the Next Roomor Miles Away
In the preliminary study, patients with neuromodulation devices were randomly assigned to conventional programming, with the expert in the room; or remote programming, with the expert using the RP-7 to guide a nurse in programming the stimulator. For the study, the expert operators were simply in another room of the same building. However, since the RP-7 operates over a conventional wireless connection, the expert can be anyplace that has Internet access.
On analysis of 20 patients (10 in each group), there was no significant difference in the accuracy or clinical outcomes of remote-presence versus conventional programming. No adverse events occurred with either type of session.
The remote-presence sessions took a little more time: 33 versus 26 minutes, on average. Patients, experts, and nonexpert nurses all gave high satisfaction scores for the programming experience.
"This study demonstrated that remote presence can be used for point-of-care programming of neuromodulation devices," Dr. Mendez and coauthors write. The study provides "proof of principle" that the RP-7 or similar devices can help to meet the need for experts needed to serve the rapidly expanding number of patients with neuromodulation therapies.
The researchers have also started a pilot study using a new mobile device, called the RP-Xpress. About the size of a small suitcase, the RP-Xpress is being used to perform long-distance home visits for patients living hundreds of miles away, using existing local cell phone networks. Dr. Me
|Contact: Connie Hughes|
Wolters Kluwer Health