To provide better postoperative healthcare for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who received deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery and to allow surgeons improved tracking of surgical outcomes, the authors sought to examine the applicability and feasibility of remote assessment using smartphones.
A disease management mobile application specifically for PD was used to perform the remote assessment of patients with PD who underwent DBS. Connection with patients was first established via a phone call or a social application, and instructions for completing the remote assessment were delivered. During the video-based virtual meeting, three nonmotor assessment scales measuring the quality of life and mental state, and a modified version of the Movement Disorder Society–sponsored revision of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, part III (MDS-UPDRS III) measuring motor abilities were evaluated. After the assessment, a report and the satisfaction questionnaire were sent to the patient.
Overall, 22 patients were recruited over a 4-week period. Among those, 18 patients completed the assessment on the mobile application. The mean duration was 41.3 minutes for video assessment and 17.5 minutes for nonmotor assessment via telephone. The mean estimated cost was 427.68 Chinese yuan (CNY) for an in-person visit and 20.91 CNY for a virtual visit (p < 0.001). The mean time estimate for an in-person visit was 5.51 hours and 0.68 hours for a virtual visit (p = 0.002). All patients reported satisfaction (77.78% very satisfied and 22.22% satisfied) with the virtual visit and were specifically impressed by the professionalism and great attitude of the physician assistant. The majority of patients agreed that the evaluation time was reasonable (50% totally agree, 44.44% agree, and 5.56% neither agree nor disagree) and all patients expressed interest in future virtual visits (61.11% very willingly and 38.89% willingly). No adverse events were observed during the virtual visit.
Innovation in remote assessment technologies was highly feasible for its transforming power in the clinical management of patients with PD who underwent DBS and research. Video-based remote assessment offered considerable time and resource reduction for both patients and doctors. It also increased safety and was a well-accepted, favored tool. Finally, the results of this study have shown there is potential to combine remote assessment tools with real-life clinical visits and other telemedical technologies to collectively benefit the postoperative healthcare of patients with PD undergoing DBS.