Virtual visits as effective as in-person appointments for Parkinson’s patients

Virtual visits by neurologists save patients the hassle of travel, but some question such remote meetings as effective as in-person visits. A study published in Neurology examined the feasibility of virtual house calls by neurologist in treating those with Parkinson’s disease.

Virtual visits offer patients the ability to receive care in their homes, but research on the feasibility of these visits is scarce. This study analyzed the benefits to virtual visits in patients comparing virtual house visits with outcomes from conventional care.

"Virtual house calls have the potential to dramatically increase access to care for people with such a debilitating disease," stated first author Christopher A. Beck, PhD, and colleagues. "The 21st Century Cures Act mandated a report on which chronic conditions could be improved most by the expansion of telemedicine. Parkinson's disease should be considered for this report, and it should expand the definition of telemedicine to include the virtual house call."

The study enrolled 195 patients who received convential care with their physician or four virtual visits with a neurologist. Results found virtual visits were able to save patients 100 miles of driving and 169 minutes of travel time. A largemajority of patients (97 percent) and neurologists (86 percent) reported satisfactio, and 55 percent of patients said they preferred virtual visits to in-person meetings. Quality of life, care and burden on caregivers were the same in both groups.