Rush University Medical Center will be among first to offer deep brain medicine services via telemedicine

Rush University Medical Center will be one of the first hospitals in the country to offer deep brain stimulation (DBS)  through telemedicine.

The NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic has chosen Rush has a handful of medical centers to rollout their neuromodulation technology. It is the first technology of this sort that has approved approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

 

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Through this system, physicians will be able to control their patients’ DBS devices virtually, sending over settings and commands to a neurostimulation device.

Deep brain stimulation uses electrodes to target certain areas of the brain with electrical pulses in order to control certain conditions of the brain. Patients who use deep brain stimulation have a small device usually implanted under their skin that can be used by a remote control.

Leo Verhagen, director of the Movement Disorder Interventional Program at Rush University, said in a statement that this program will allow for hurdles to be removed for patients who use deep brain stimulation:

“This will be a great convenience for our DBS patients with movement disorders who have a long distance to travel or who have difficulty leaving the house because of their condition. Sometimes, patients need to be off their medication for a period of time before the DBS settings are adjusted, which adds another hurdle to making an office visit.”

Use of telemedicine has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many doctor’s offices limited in-person visits when the pandemic began in March 2020, instead providing basic medical services and consultation via telehealth. While the pandemic may end in the near future, telehealth’s growth may continue.

Verhagen continued:

“Telemedicine is increasingly recognized as an efficient care model that is the way of the future, and remote programming ensures that our patients with DBS systems are not left behind.”

Deep brain stimulation has been used to treat over 160,000 patients since the technology became widely available, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. It can be used to treat dystonia, epilepsy, tremors, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Parkinson’s among other neurological conditions.

Rush University Medical Center includes a 671-bed hospital and a 61-bed health center in Chicago. The entire health system consists of multiple health centers and the university’s medical school across the greater Chicago area.