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

significant improvements in quality of life and motor function. In addition, those receiving telemedicine had trends toward higher satisfaction with their care.

The project with the Presbyterian Home was so successful that Joseph decided to continue funding the effort for another year with the help of a grant from New York State. Dorsey and Biglan also hope to expand the project to other nursing homes in upstate New York. One of the key obstacles to the wider adaption of telemedicine for Parkinson's and other diseases is payment for services. While studies of other projects have shown that telemedicine can reduce the overall cost of care, current reimbursement is limited to specific regions (for example, it excludes New Hartford as not sufficiently rural) and generally does not cover the cost of care provided.

If broadly adopted, telemedicine has the potential to reshape the way individuals with Parkinson's disease think about their care and, ultimately, where to live. Currently, people often have to live near medical centers to receive the specialty care they need. Telemedicine has the potential to change that. In addition, telemedicine can facilitate the participation of individuals in clinical trials by reducing the travel and time burden on participants and their caregivers.

"The number of people with Parkinson's will double over the next 25 years," said Biglan. "This should be a wake up call to the medical community and government to invest in innovative ways to bring care to this population. Telemedicine represents a tremendous opportunity to expand access to specialized care and improve the quality of life of patients regardless of where they live."


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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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