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Telemedicine expands reach of care for Parkinson's patients
Date:6/17/2009

A unique and innovative telemedicine project is providing distant nursing home patients with Parkinson's disease access to neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. A pilot study of the project the results of which were released this month at the International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders in Paris demonstrates that the system can improve the quality of life and motor function of patients.

"This study shows that we can effectively deliver care for Parkinson's patients via telemedicine," said University of Rochester neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D. "This system enables us to reach and provide a high level of care to patients who might otherwise not have access to a specialist."

Dorsey and his colleague Kevin Biglan, M.D. oversee the project and divide patient responsibilities between them. The effort is a joint initiative between University of Rochester Medical Center and the Presbyterian Home for Central New York in New Harford, a 250 bed nursing home near Utica and about 150 miles from Rochester.

When the nursing home opened in 2001, it was the first in the nation to offer specialized care to people with Parkinson's and other movement disorders in a nursing home setting. For years, the Parkinson's patients at the home would typically make 10 trips a year to Syracuse, Albany or Rochester to see a movement disorders specialist. Tony Joseph, the administrator of the Presbyterian Home says that these trips were exhausting for the home's elderly patients. "I knew there had to be a better way," said Joseph.

Joseph knew of Dorsey and Biglan through their work with the Parkinson Support Group of Upstate New York and approached them to seek their help in devising a solution. They struck an approach that utilized telemedicine to conduct patient visits that otherwise would have been burdensome or not possible for patients.

The expertise for such a project already existed
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Contact: Mark Michaud
mark_michaud@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-4790
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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