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

in the Medical Center. The University of Rochester has one of the largest Movement and Inherited Neurological Disorders programs in the nation with more than 10 physicians and has been designated a Center of Excellence by the National Parkinson Foundation and the Huntington's Disease Society of America.

The Medical Center has also been an innovator in the field of telemedicine. The system employed for the project was built on a technological backbone developed at the University of Rochester and is used to conduct remote pediatric and dental evaluations on patients in schools, day care centers, and other locations. The system is essentially low tech, low cost solution and consists of a laptop, software, and a web camera that allows the physicians to interact with and visually assess patients.

While such remote evaluations have their limitations, Parkinson's disease was an ideal candidate for such a system. "Parkinson's is a very visual disease," said Biglan. "You don't necessarily have to physically touch patients to understand how they are doing."

Patients are brought to a room in the nursing home with a flat screen television so they can see the physicians. All the doctors in Rochester require on their end is a computer equipped with a web camera. Telemedicine "visits" are just like regular office visits and consist of an update on the patient's health, a review of medications, any potential complications, and a standardized motor skills evaluation (balance, gait, coordination, and stiffness) conducted by the physician with the assistance of a trained nurse at the Presbyterian Home. At the end of the visit, recommendations are discussed with the patient and faxed to the nursing home.

An initial pilot project, funded by the Presbyterian Home, followed 14 patients for 6 months and then evaluated the outcomes of those who received telemedicine care with those who did not. The study found that telemedicine patients had
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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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