telemedicine

“Breaking up” with a doctor after 14 years — Bernadette’s journey to better care

PatientsLikeMe member Bernadette (yellsea), who’s on the 2018 Team of Advisors, has been living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) since 2002. She recently filled us in about switching specialists after more than a decade with the same neurologist, and advocating for herself after enough “red flags” popped up in her interactions with that physician. Out with the old Bernadette lives in remote area in the Great Lakes Region of New York. The first PD symptom she noticed was her handwriting getting small (a common early symptom of PD known as micrographia) — and her first doctor dismissed it as “writer’s cramp.” When she began having tremors in her hand, she started seeing a neurologist with a strong reputation in Syracuse, about a 40 minute drive from her home. “He’s very well-respected in the area,” she says. “In fact, a lot of the [other] doctors won’t step on his toes.” Bernadette was experiencing serious side effects with some of her PD medications — including compulsive gambling out of the blue (a reported side effect of Mirapex) — but her neurologist asked her very few questions about how she was feeling, and never raised the topic of side effects. “My husband didn’t like him,” Bernadette says of her …

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telemedicine

Dr. Rick Bedlack weighs in on telemedicine

Do you have difficulty getting to your doctor’s appointments? Ever thought about using telemedicine? Connecting online can make it easier to get the care you need. Here, Dr. Rick Bedlack (a tenured associate professor of Medicine/Neurology at Duke University and the director of the Duke ALS Clinic that’s partnering with PatientsLikeMe in the current Lunasin study) explains the basics of telemedicine, his “Tele-ALS” program and how telemedicine could improve patient clinical trial experiences in the future. Telemedicine 101: How does it work? “Telemedicine” connects patients and their doctors through secure video conferencing programs (similar to “FaceTime”). Both parties need to have a computer, tablet or smartphone, and a video conferencing program that has been approved for use by the doctor’s institution. I have been offering this type of care to patients with ALS for several years now, through separate “Tele-ALS” programs at the Durham VA Medical Center (VAMC) and Duke University. The pros of telemedicine No travel: The main benefit of Tele-ALS is that it allows patients with ALS who live in rural areas to continue to connect with their ALS specialist throughout their disease, even when travel becomes difficult or impossible. Symptoms management: This connection facilitates expert identification and management of the many …

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Virtual house calls? Dr. Ray Dorsey’s promising research on telemedicine for Parkinson’s disease

What if your next doctor’s appointment involved just booting up your laptop rather than trekking to a clinic or office? Neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., is making virtual house calls a reality for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and believes “telemedicine” is on the brink of transforming healthcare. “There’s a huge demand for more convenient care,” he says. What’s telemedicine? Why does it work for PD? Telemedicine, also called telehealth, is the delivery of healthcare remotely via phone, smartphone, mobile wireless device or other tools with or without a video connection. Dr. Dorsey, a professor of neurology and the director of the Center for Health and Technology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has been studying and providing telemedicine for more than a decade – starting with people with PD in a nursing home in a remote part of Central New York. He says virtual visits work particularly well for PD because it’s a visually-assessed condition. Also, due to geography, physical limitations and other factors, more than 40 percent of people with PD do not see a neurologist – putting them at greater risk for falls, hip fractures and other complications – so there’s ample opportunity to improve care. …

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Medication Non-Adherence: The Costs and Complexities

On October 24-25th, PatientsLikeMe attended the 8th Annual Patient Adherence, Communication and Engagement (PACE) Conference in Philadelphia. The event focused on how the healthcare industry can deliver measurable improvements in patient adherence (i.e., taking medications as prescribed by your doctor).  Put simply, how can we help patients like you take the correct dosages at the correct times? Why does this topic merit its own conference? Well, as we learned at PACE, medication non-adherence costs more than $300 billion every year in the US alone. You read that right. And this staggering amount is comprised of more than just hospitalization and emergency room costs. It also includes things like lost employee productivity and the cost for less optimal patient outcomes. Essentially, think of it as $300 billion the US could be saving each year – but currently is spending – in the midst of an economic downturn. Here are some of the other noteworthy takeaways: Of that $300 billion, more than $100 billion is concentrated in four cardio-metabolic disorders: diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease. A key factor in non-adherence is that patients may frequently have an incorrect understanding or an unrealistic expectation from their doctor of what their medications will do for …

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