AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Telemedicine Achieves Its Potential for Parkinson’s Patients

Ask any patient suffering from chronic disease and they often will tell a story of isolation, uncertainty and frustration over the debilitating effects of their disease. Many times the focus of their complaints is not being afforded easy access to specialized care and consultation with caregivers. While significant inroads have been made in the treatment options for chronic maladies like Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, gaining routine, daily access to those ground breaking discoveries is out of the reach of many sufferers.

Researchers are looking at how modern communication technology, coupled with the latest techniques in treating Parkinson disease, can revolutionize the quality of care for sufferers of the chronic neurological disorder. “We are looking at quality of life, quality of care and reducing the burden on healthcare providers”, says Dr. Ray Dorsey, co-director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center. “Imagine if you thought there was a possibility you had Parkinson’s disease, but you lived 100 miles or more from the nearest medical center with a qualified neurologist. You’re faced with at least a couple of hours of driving, of navigating an unfamiliar urban environment, of parking and walking—and that’s assuming you’re able to find a neurologist within driving distance to begin with. Now think about how easy it is to buy a book or a pair of shoes online. The two should not be so different.”

Preliminary results of the Connect.Parkinson project, the nation’s first randomized clinical trial of remote treatment of Parkinson’s disease, indicate the benefits of virtual treatment for patients and caregivers alike. A recent report on the initial results of the 18-state, Connect.Parkinson project reported that 95 percent of Parkinson’s patients completing telehealth visits have experienced an increased proportion of the time with a healthcare professional of 89 percent; up from 25 percent for those opting for traditional in-person encounters.

The National Parkinson Foundation is committed to supporting efforts to demonstrate how telemedicine can enhance the delivery of care to people with Parkinson’s. Studies are indicating that telemedicine care, often delivered in the patients home, is just as good as care received at a brick and motor medical center. The fact that diagnosing and monitoring the progression of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders is based almost entirely on visual observation makes Parkinson uniquely suited for virtual care technologies. Christopher Goetz, MD, a leading expert on movement disorders and director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center says, “Ninety-five percent of the information I gather is visual. Thus, with telemedicine visits where I can see and hear my patient right in front of me on the computer screen, there is no decline in the quality of information I gather.”

Rush is located in the state of Illinois which is among those states not yet mandating payers to provide payments for telemedical services. But according to Dr. Brian Patty, Rush’s chief medical information office and chairman of Rush’s Telemedicine Steering Committee, the Medical Center has several telemedicine pilot projects underway that can likely have significant impact on Parkinson patients.

In New York, researchers at The Rochester Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics, are developing and testing mobile apps that will help Parkinson’s patients track metrics such as dexterity, balance, gait, voice patterns and cognition, then send readings to researchers.

After decades of promises, telemedicine is delivering on its promise to increase access to quality, specialty care to improve patient outcomes.



ACT Collaborates with Southeastern Medical Center on Telestroke Network

AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), the Southeast region’s largest practice based telemedicine provider, participated at Southeastern Alabama Medical Center’s (SAMC) press conference, announcing SAMC’s new stroke care network.

SAMC’s service area covers over 60 miles in each direction.  With technology in place, SAMC looked at possible resources to staff the new 24X7 model.  Neurologists on staff at SAMC are responsible for patients after admittance to the hospital, and often following acute symptoms or neurological events.  To be able to provide 24X7 coverage would be impossible. SAMC selected AcuteCare Telemedicine as its clinical service provider.

With this hub-spoke stroke care model, SAMC will be able to add hospitals to its network, expanding coverage across its communities.  Patients have already started to receive care, including tPA.  The initial results show improved patient outcomes.   The goal of the stroke care network is to educate communities on the importance of wellness, to identify signs before a stroke and generate awareness for the new services offerings SAMC can provide.

“Telemedicine is such a new technology for our population. We had concerns about patient adoption and comfort with being diagnosed remotely,” comments Ceclia Land, Division Director, Rehabilitation Services, SAMC.  “However, ACT integrated seamlessly into our processes, working alongside our team, to insure only the highest level of care to our patients. All of the doctors at ACT have an incredible bedside manner and are engaging.  They have become an integral part of our team.”

ACT will be on hand to diagnose and treat acute care patients. ACT offers cost-effective solutions that deliver complete on-call coverage, improve patient outcomes that adhere to HIPAA / HITECH requirements and establish a sustainable financial model for patient care.  The ACT Team of Neurological specialists are in the business of creating relationships that will serve as the foundation for improving healthcare for communities across the Southeast and Nationwide.

“SAMC has really established the new standard of care, expanding access to specialty care in underserved communities,” comments Dr. Gwynn, CEO, Partner, ACT.  “We look forward to our continued involvement with SAMC and its patients.  We have the potential to improve the statistics for residents across these communities in the hopes of saving lives lost due to stroke.  If diagnosed in time, we are able to administer tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) decreasing patient deficits after the stroke.”