Even with the promise of multiple vaccines and eventual reopenings, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the value of telehealth clear, and it’s here to stay. Now, Abbott is launching a virtual clinic that aims to put neuromodulation patients in touch with their physicians and have their treatments adjusted remotely.
Recently approved by the FDA, the company’s NeuroSphere program aims to connect people suffering from chronic pain or movement disorders—such as Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor—who may not live near their healthcare provider or be able to access them in person.
Using app-based video chat and remote programming features, the clinic allows physicians to digitally prescribe new treatment settings and link them directly to the patient’s neurostimulation device.
"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—with the goal of empowering patients to decide how to access the care they need," said Keith Boettiger, Abbott’s neuromodulation vice president.
According to Abbott, people with movement disorders will travel over 150 miles on average to visit specialists in deep brain stimulation.
"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," Boettiger said.
Currently, Medicare will cover remote programming services as a telehealth benefit through the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The NeuroSphere clinic is compatible with the company’s Infinity and Proclaim neurostimulation systems for Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and chronic pain, requiring only a data connection and the controller device.