HumanInsight Potential clinical and economic benefits of remote deep brain stimulation programming
Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 19;12(1):17420. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22206-z.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) teleprogramming may help reducing travel-related and other financial burdens for patients and maintaining DBS care in special situations. To determine travel-related burdens of DBS patients and explore effects of COVID-19 on DBS care. Travel- and visit-related data of 319 patients were retrospectively analyzed for the first year, five years, and ten years after initiating DBS. Frequencies of in-person and telemedicine visits over the 18-month periods just before and after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Hungary were also compared. Average travel distance during an in-person visit was 415.2 ± 261.5 km, while average travel time was 342.1 ± 199.4 min. Travel costs for the first year, five years, and ten years were 151.8 ± 108.7, 461.4 ± 374.6, and 922.7 ± 749.1 Euros, respectively. Travel distance, age, and type and severity of disease could help identify patients who would particularly benefit from teleprogramming. We detected a significant decrease in the number of visits during COVID-19 pandemic (from 3.7 ± 2.1 to 2.4 ± 2.7; p < 0.001) which mainly resulted from the decreased frequency of in-person visits (3.6 ± 2.0 vs. 1.7 ± 1.8; p < 0.001). Our results support the introduction of DBS teleprogramming in Hungary which could save money and time for patients while maintaining a secure delivery of DBS.
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