Telehealth Used in Treating Neurological Disorders
Although low-acuity ailments are the conditions most commonly treated through telehealth, treating neurological disorders via this application has also proved to be effective. Since a majority of neurological diagnosing deals with observing the patient’s movements, video encounters can capture this assessment in the same way an in-person exam would. Patients with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease have started to receive treatment from telehealth neurologists when their access to a neurologist in their area is limited.
If you have heard of Microsoft’s Kinect device, you may associate it with gaming. However, the most recent use for the Kinect has been to aid patients with Parkinson’s disease. The device facilitates telehealth connections, and is an affordable option for most people. With the Kinect sensor, providers can instruct patients to perform certain actions with their fingers or feet that demonstrate motor control. The Kinect has a camera, allowing patients and providers to connect face-to face for these evaluations. Overall, while the device alone cannot cure Parkinson’s, Microsoft has taken a big step in providing treatment and assessments to affected patients. They stated:
“In the future we see additional functionality being added. We are now in the process of looking into gamification and using this both as a way to make rehabilitation more fun and to involve the patients’ relatives in the rehabilitation.”
Patients with other neurological conditions like epilepsy and chronic headaches usually present normally when a neurologist evaluates them. As a result, the evaluation mainly consists of the patient’s description of their symptoms; this type of visit is well suited for telemedicine. Additionally, DICOM (digital imaging communication) standards have advanced to the point where a hospital can transmit images like MRIs to other centers or specialists who interpret them. Since a shortage of physicians is expected to occur in the near future, access to specialists may become more difficult, and more patients will start seeking treatment through telemedicine.