Abbott has launched its NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved digital technology that allows remote patient-doctor communication, increasing medical care access for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
“NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic solves considerable issues patients with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor, can have in obtaining the care they need,” Drew Falconer, MD, neurologist and director of Virginia-based Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center, said in a press release.
“[P]hysicians can communicate and digitally prescribe new stimulation settings remotely, allowing them to extend care beyond their clinic walls and optimize therapy management,” said Timothy Deer, MD, president and CEO of The Spine and Nerve Centers of the Virginias.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an established treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease who do not adequately respond to medication. It is a surgical procedure in which electrodes are implanted in certain areas of the brain, generating electrical impulses to control abnormal brain activity and ease motor symptoms.
After DBS surgery, visits are frequent in the first several months for therapy management and require an in-person visit to ensure the device is working properly and adjust settings.
Abbott is now facilitating these visits through its NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, a technology that connects patients and doctors remotely via a secure app video chat and an integrated programming feature.
“With NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, patients can receive stimulation settings from their physicians in real time and remotely via cloud and Bluetooth-based technology,” Falconer said.
The new virtual digital technology is compatible with Abbott’s neuromodulation therapy systems, including Infinity DBS for patients with Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor; Proclaim XR SCS for chronic pain; and Proclaim DRG Neurostimulation for lower limb pain.
NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic offers the convenience and flexibility of telehealth and can benefit patients in areas with insufficient care access, as long as there is an internet connection. During the pandemic, Medicare will cover these remote programming services as a telehealth benefit.
“A decade ago, we started evaluating the hurdles that patients had to overcome to receive neuromodulation treatment, and we have been working ever since to find a better way to connect providers and patients,” said Keith Boettiger, president of Abbott Neuromodulation.
“We are continuing to make these kinds of investments and working with regulatory authorities to make these telehealth changes permanent, as we believe that patients should be able to receive the care they need, regardless of whether they can make it physically to the doctor’s office,” he said.
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