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J Huntingtons Dis ; 10(4): 479-484, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496974


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for remote healthcare options among patients with Huntington's disease (HD). However, since not every HD patient is suitable for telehealth, it is important to differentiate who can be seen virtually from who should remain as in-person. Unfortunately, there are no clinical guidelines on how to evaluate HD patients for telehealth eligibility. OBJECTIVE: To standardize the teleneurology selection process in HD by implementing a screening tool that accounts for patient-specific factors. METHODS: We organized various indications and contraindications to teleneurology into a flowchart. If any indications or contraindications were met, patients were assigned to telehealth or maintained as in-person, respectively. If no indications or contraindications were met, patients were given the option of telehealth or in-person for their upcoming appointments. In two implementation cycles, we tested this screening tool among all HD patients scheduled for clinic visits, aided by chart review and phone interview. RESULTS: In a cohort of 81 patients, telehealth acceptance among eligible patients increased from 45.0%to 83.3%. Frequency of telehealth visits increased from a pre-intervention baseline of 12.8%to 28.2%. CONCLUSION: Teleneurology utilization among HD patients more than doubled across our study. Our intervention promotes consistency and patient-centeredness in HD clinical care and streamlines the overall telehealth selection process. Future studies can seek to reduce telehealth no-shows and also evaluate the utility of the motor and psychiatric criteria included in our screening tool.

COVID-19 , Huntington Disease/therapy , Neurology/standards , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Patient Preference , Telemedicine/standards , Adult , Ambulatory Care , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cohort Studies , Facilities and Services Utilization , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neurology/organization & administration , Software Design , Telemedicine/organization & administration , Tertiary Care Centers
J Huntingtons Dis ; 10(2): 313-322, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1195998


BACKGROUND: Safer-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic altered the structure of clinical care for Huntington's disease (HD) patients. This shift provided an opportunity to identify limitations in the current healthcare infrastructure and how these may impact the health and well-being of persons with HD. OBJECTIVE: The study objectives were to assess the feasibility of remote healthcare delivery in HD patients, to identify socioeconomic factors which may explain differences in feasibility and to evaluate the impact of safer-at-home orders on HD patient stress levels. METHODS: This observational study of a clinical HD population during the 'safer-at-home' orders asked patients or caregivers about their current access to healthcare resources and patient stress levels. A chart review allowed for an assessment of socioeconomic status and characterization of HD severity. RESULTS: Two-hundred and twelve HD patients were contacted with 156 completing the survey. During safer-at-home orders, the majority of HD patients were able to obtain medications and see a physician; however, 25% of patients would not commit to regular telehealth visits, and less than 50% utilized an online healthcare platform. We found that 37% of participants were divorced/single, 39% had less than a high school diploma, and nearly 20% were uninsured or on low-income health insurance. Patient stress levels correlated with disease burden. CONCLUSION: A significant portion of HD participants were not willing to participate in telehealth services. Potential explanations for these limitations may include socioeconomic barriers and caregiving structure. These observations illustrate areas for clinical care improvement to address healthcare disparities in the HD community.

COVID-19 , Huntington Disease , Telemedicine , Adult , Cost of Illness , Female , Healthcare Disparities , Humans , Huntington Disease/epidemiology , Huntington Disease/therapy , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , Socioeconomic Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires