Telemedicine Proves Value in Managing Migraine Patients
Saves Money and Time, Improves Quality of Care, Builds Patient Satisfaction, Say Two New Studies Presented at American Headache Society Scientific Meeting
WASHINGTON, DC, June 17, 2015 – Two new studies of the usefulness of telemedicine in treating migraine patients shows it to be as effective as in-office visits, especially in patient follow-up evaluations and in improving a patient’s likelihood of getting the right medications. The studies, at Mercy Virtual in St. Louis, and at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Simon Business School at the University of Rochester, were presented to some 1,000 migraine specialists and researchers at the 57th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society here.
Telemedicine, which uses telecommunication and information technologies to provide clinical healthcare at a distance and connect health professionals and patients in different locations, is increasing popular as a way to extend medical services and improve efficiency.
In the Mercy Virtual study, investigators found that using Mercy’s Virtual TeleHeadache capability significantly improved the patient’s likelihood of being prescribed acute and preventative medication consistent with evidence-based guidelines.
“Given its portability and scalability, telemedicine offers the possibility of expanding the reach of providers who can deliver world-class migraine care regardless of the patient’s location,” said Timothy R. Smith, MD, Mercy Clinic Headache Center/Mercy Virtual, lead author of the study.
Dr. Smith and his team found that 77.4% of those who received migraine care via TeleHeadache were prescribed or recommended evidence-based acute medication versus 27.0% of those who received care locally.
In the UT Southwestern and Simon Business School study, patients were randomized to either receive in-person follow-up visits or follow-up visits via telemedicine. Investigators compared the feasibility, clinical effectiveness and patient satisfaction of telemedicine with that of in-person visits, and looked at the economic value of using telemedicine for patient care.
“We found that telemedicine is effective in conducting follow-up evaluations for patients with migraine,” said Deborah I. Friedman, MD, MPH, FAAN, Professor, Neurology & Neurotherapeutics and Ophthalmology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, “and we also believe telemedicine adds economic value for patients and results in a high degree of patient satisfaction.”
“Besides clinical efficacy, we are looking at various patient centered performance measures, as well as the overall economics of this approach,” said Abraham Seidmann, professor of operations management from Simon Business School at the University of Rochester. “The initial results are very promising, and we have discovered some important counterintuitive lessons, which are critical for the successful deployment of this information technology on a larger scale.”
The American Headache Society (AHS) is a professional society of health care providers dedicated to the study and treatment of headache and face pain. The Society’s objectives are to promote the exchange of information and ideas concerning the causes and treatments of headache and related painful disorders. Educating physicians, health professionals and the public and encouraging scientific research are the primary functions of this organization. AHS activities include an annual scientific meeting, a comprehensive headache symposium, regional symposia for neurologists and family practice physicians, and publication of the journal Headache. (www.americanheadachesociety.org)