Telehealth and Digital Measures May Assist With Monitoring MS Progression: Marisa McGinley, DO


The staff neurologist at the Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research at Cleveland Clinic spoke about her presentation from ECTRIMS 2022 on teleneurology and its utilization as a tool to make care more accessible to patients with MS. [WATCH TIME: 7 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 7 minutes

“We're going to have to think about more personalized health delivery approaches, and clinic workflows, and it may look different for different scenarios. I think we have to be willing to adapt, but also be rigorous in the methodology of our implementation.”

The utilization of teleneurology has expanded ever since the COVID-19 pandemic has limited in-person access to healthcare. Although the disparities created and addressed by telehealth have not been fully described in the multiple sclerosis (MS) patient population in comparison with other health conditions. Marisa McGinely, DO, and colleagues presented a poster at the 2022 European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) Congress, from October 26-28, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on the utilization of teleneurology to identify any potential disparities during the utilization at the MS Cleveland Clinic.1

McGinley, staff neurologist, Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues compared fully in-person care to more than or less than 50% of teleneurology care in patients with MS. During a 24-month time frame, the results showed 37% patients were fully in-person for care. In addition, 37.2% had less than 50% of teleneurology care whereas 25.8% of patients had more than 50% of telemedicine care from 2019 to 2021.

In a similar prior retrospective observational study by McGinley and her colleagues, the mean in-person visits per week was 5129.4, which decreased to 866.7 in March of 2020.2 Notably, the mean teleneurology visits per week increased from 209.1 to 2619.3 during the same time period. Hence, teleneurology visits increased by 533% within the span of 3 weeks after March 15, 2020, across all neurological specialties at Cleveland Clinic. The study demonstrated the utilization of teleneruology as a solution for outpatient neurological care, which has shown to improve access to neurological care outside the pandemic setting.

In a recent interview with NeurologyLive®, McGinely discussed more about her presentation from 2022 ECTRIMS on the utilization of teleneurology for patients with MS. She also spoke about the use of motion capture technology such as using iPads for digital measures and the utilization importance of it in clinics or research studies.

1. McGinley M, Bena J, Buchalter R. B, Bermel R, Cohen J, Ontaneda D. Teleneurology as a tool to overcome disparities for access to multiple sclerosis care. Presented at: 2022 ECTRIMS Congress; October 26-28; Amsterdam, Netherlands. Poster 124
2. McGinley MP, Ontaneda D, Wang Z, et al. Teleneurology as a Solution for Outpatient Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Telemed J E Health. 2020;26(12):1537-1539. doi:10.1089/tmj.2020.0137
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