Abbott (NYSE:ABT) announced today that the FDA has approved a neuromodulation treatment platform that allows physicians to communicate with patients and monitor or change their treatment in real-time.
The NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic could increase access to treatment for patients with chronic pain or movement disorders who don’t live close to a care provider, have difficulty accessing care, or are unable to go to the doctor because of circumstances like COVID-19, according to the company.
The NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic provides a secure in-app video chat and an integrated remote programming feature within the company’s Patient Controller app, which gained FDA approval in July 2020. NeuroSphere enables clinicians to prescribe new treatment settings remotely to the patient’s neurostimulation device using its Clinician Programmer app. It is compatible with these systems from Abbott:
- Infinity deep-brain stimulation (DBS) system for patients with Parkinson’s disease and tremors of the upper extremities in adults with essential tremors.
- Proclaim XR spinal-cord stimulation (SCS) system for patients living with chronic pain of the trunk and/or limbs.
- Proclaim dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurostimulation system for patients with chronic pain in the lower limbs caused by complex regional pain syndrome or causalgia.
“This is a significant advancement for chronic pain patients,” said Dr. Timothy Deer, president & CEO of The Spine and Nerve Center of the Virginias in Charleston, W.Va., in a news release from Abbott.
“NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic solves considerable issues patients with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease or essential tremor, can have in obtaining the care they need,” added Dr. Drew Falconer, neurologist and director of the Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center in Fairfax, Va. “Often, patients must be off their medication overnight, so that their treatments can be adjusted properly, which can make it difficult for a patient to travel to their specialist. With NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, patients can receive stimulation settings from their physicians in real-time and remotely via cloud and Bluetooth-based technology, which is something we have never been able to do before. This opens up a world in which patients can receive the care they need anytime, anywhere.”
Patients would need to have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection and a sufficiently charged Patient Controller, the company noted. Medicare will cover remote programming services as a telehealth benefit through the duration of the public health emergency.
On average, people living with movement disorders will travel over 150 miles to reach specialists offering DBS, according to Abbott’s own data. Without alternative solutions, such as digital and/or telehealth options, these patients are more likely to delay or forego care, according to a recent study by Deloitte.
“A decade ago, we started evaluating the hurdles that patients had to overcome to receive neuromodulation treatment, and we have been working ever since to find a better way to connect providers and patients – with the goal of empowering patients to decide how to access
the care they need,” said Abbott neuromodulation VP Keith Boettiger. “We are continuing to make these kinds of investments and working with regulatory authorities to make these telehealth changes permanent, as we believe that patients should be able to receive the care they need, regardless of whether they can make it physically to the doctor’s office.”