Ray Dorsey: Telehealth Will Transform the Health Care System

The University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s associate director for Clinical Trial Methods and Technologies, Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., co-authored a review article in the New England Journal of Medicine published this week.  The review suggests that the growth of telehealth, a patient-centered initiative for electronic distribution of health-related services and education, will have a profound impact on the delivery of health care in the coming decades.

 

Ray Dorsey

Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A. 

Dorsey, who is also the director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and his co-author Eric Topol, M.D., at the Scripps Research Institute, believe telehealth will reduce the cost and increase the convenience of health care. Instead of waiting 20 days to secure a 20-minute appointment that, with travel time factored in, could take up two hours, patients could have a virtual visit with their physician almost any time of day in the comfort of their own home.

Telehealth is growing rapidly and its use has expanded from treating acute conditions, like stroke, to episodic and chronic conditions, like ear infections and Parkinson’s disease. Likewise, the application of telehealth has spread from hospitals to clinics, and finally to patients’ own mobile devices.

In fact, Dorsey and his colleagues at the University of Rochester developed a mobile phone application to remotely assess symptom progression and medication effectiveness in Parkinson’s disease patients. This application is part of the first national randomized controlled trial of telehealth in Parkinson’s disease, led by Dorsey. That trial, which will be completed later this summer, will determine the effectiveness of using video calls to connect Parkinson’s patients with expert care.

While telehealth has potential to provide basic health assessments to previously unreachable patients, Dorsey and Topol acknowledge that it will not replace traditional office visits. However, if properly harnessed, these new technologies will help providers and health care systems meet the growing burden of chronic diseases, increase access to care, and return health care to its patient-centered roots.

For a related article, click here.

To read the full review, click here.

Erika Augustine: Battling Batten Disease

Batten diseases are rare genetic disorders that affect 2 to 4 of every 100,000 infants born in the U.S. Genetic mutations disrupt the function of the nervous system causing vision loss and epilepsy starting between ages 5 and 10 and ultimately resulting in death in the 20’s or 30’s.

When Erika F. Augustine, M.D., assistant professor  of Neurology and Pediatrics, and in the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics began caring for patients almost 10 years ago,  prospects for Batten disease treatments were limited. Now, Augustine and her colleagues are conducting clinical trials for a therapies that target the root of the disease rather than simply alleviating symptoms.

Below, Augustine, who serves as a member of the Strategic Leadership Group for the CTSI and has utilized the CTSI’s Clinical Research Center to conduct her clinical trials, discusses her research and why she became a doctor and a researcher.

The University of Rochester Medical Center is home to approximately 3,000 individuals who conduct research on everything from cancer and heart disease to Parkinson’s, pandemic influenza, and autism. Spread across many centers, institutes, and labs, our scientists have developed therapies that have improved human health locally, in the region, and across the globe. To learn more, visit http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/research.

“mPower”-ing Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Ray Dorsey, M.D., David M. Levy professor of Neurology, director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics, and associate director for Clinical Trial Methods and Technologies at the CTSI and URMC, is featured below in a video discussing his research involving a smartphone application that helps assess symptoms of Parkinson’s disease patients from the comfort of their own homes.

Dorsey helped develop the mPower smartphone app, which is a clinical research tool that is helping researchers understand why certain Parkinson’s disease patients experience certain symptoms and how those symptoms change over time. As Dorsey says, the app is not a “one way street of information.” It allows patients to track their own symptoms day to day and provides them with information to help them better manage their symptoms.

One of the most important aspects of this application and clinical research is that breaks down a barrier to research participation and health care access. People can participate in the study and conduct assessments entirely on their phone – without ever having to visit a clinic.

Dorsey’s goal: “Anyone, anywhere in the U.S. can participate in research – regardless of who they are and where they live.”

The University of Rochester Medical Center is home to approximately 3,000 individuals who conduct research on everything from cancer and heart disease to Parkinson’s, pandemic influenza, and autism. Spread across many centers, institutes, and labs, our scientists have developed therapies that have improved human health locally, in the region, and across the globe. To learn more, visit http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/research.