In an interview with PharmaShots, Dr. Drew Falconer, Neurologist and Director at Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center in Fairfax, Va. shares insights on the first neurostimulation technology in the US that allows patients to receive treatment from the doctor without leaving home.
- Abbott launches NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic that allows patients to communicate with their physicians, ensure proper settings and functionality, and receive new treatment settings remotely as needed
- With NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, physicians can communicate and digitally prescribe new stimulation settings remotely, allowing them to extend care beyond their clinic walls and optimize therapy management for their patients
- Abbott plans to expand access to NeuroSphere’s Virtual Clinic to patients and health systems across the US
Tuba: Put light on the launch of NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic in the US.
Dr. Falconer: Recently, Abbott announced the launch of the company’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, a patient-support technology that allows patients to communicate with their physicians, ensure proper settings and functionality, and receive new treatment settings remotely as needed.
Tuba: Highlights the key features of the NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic.
Dr. Falconer: Abbott’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic is a first-of-its-kind technology in the U.S. that allows patients to receive stimulation settings from their physicians in real-time and remotely via the cloud and Bluetooth-based technology. This has the potential to increase access to optimal treatment for patients suffering from chronic pain or movement disorders who don’t live close to a care provider, have difficulty accessing care, or are unable to go to the doctor because of circumstances like COVID-19.
The NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic can also be helpful for people who live in areas — both rural and urban — with inadequate access to medical services. On average people living with movement, disorders will travel over 150 miles to access specialists offering deep brain stimulation (DBS).[i]Without alternative solutions, such as digital and/or telehealth options, these patients are more likely to delay or forego much-needed care.[ii]
Tuba: How it is a revolutionizing treatment for patients?
Dr. Falconer: People living with chronic pain or movement disorders often have a hard time getting to doctor’s appointments, especially if they are experiencing a flare in pain or are having trouble managing their Parkinson’s or essential tremor symptoms. With NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, as physicians, we can communicate and digitally prescribe new stimulation settings remotely, allowing them to extend care beyond their clinic walls and optimize therapy management for their patients. In short, we can take the revolution of telehealth in terms of meeting patients anytime and anywhere, and add neuromodulation to the list of what’s possible.
Tuba: What are the neuromodulation technologies on which NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic is compatible?
Dr. Falconer: The NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic is compatible with Abbott’s suite of neuromodulation technologies, including Infinity™ DBS System for patients with Parkinson’s disease and tremors of the upper extremities in adults with essential tremors; Proclaim™ XR SCS System for patients living with chronic pain of the trunk and/or limbs; and Proclaim™ DRG Neurostimulation System for patients with chronic pain in the lower limbs caused by complex regional pain syndrome or causalgia.
Tuba: How does Abbott’s digital efforts make them unique in the pain management/movement disorders industry?
Dr. Falconer: Abbott has always stressed the importance of keeping the patients – and the doctors who treat them – at the center of what they do. Abbott is at the forefront of technological advancements and innovations that are enhancing the patient experience, bringing them the care they want and deserve. This integration of Abbott’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic across all Abbott neuromodulation technologies highlights Abbott’s relentless pursuit of patient-centered research and development methodologies that use neuroscience combined with cutting-edge technology to go beyond physical symptom relief to improve the lives of people with neurological disorders.
Tuba: What kind of role did COVID-19 pandemic play to motivate you to work on Virtual Clinics?
Dr. Falconer: With the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more difficult for patients to receive the adequate care to treat both long-term and short-term healthcare issues. Even before the pandemic, patients had difficulty reaching their physicians as location and travel was a deterrent for people to receive treatment. Once telemedicine became an option, many clinics saw an uptick on new patients, many of whom had never sought out specialty care because of the barriers of distance, travel and time. NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic brings the convenience and flexibility of telemedicine to neurostimulation therapy, further benefitting chronic pain and movement disorder patients with Abbott devices.
Tuba: Are you planning to expand the access of NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic to patients outside the US?
Dr. Falconer: Currently, Abbott plans to expand access of NeuroSphere’s Virtual Clinic to patients and health systems across the U.S
[i] Abbott Data on File.
[ii] Deloitte. Narrowing the rural-urban health divide. https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/public-sector/virtual-health-telemedicine-rural-areas.html. Accessed Nov. 8, 2020.
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Dr. Drew Falconer is board certified in neurology and is a fellowship-trained movement disorders specialist. He joined Inova Neurology in 2015 with the launch of the Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center where he serves as Co-Medical Director.