Telehealth has proven invaluable for people living with conditions such as multiple sclerosis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals facing mobility issues can access a variety of specialists and health care services from the safety and comfort of their own homes. Panelists discussed these benefits of telehealth during a recent webinar at the Telehealth Awareness Week event.
Among the experts on the webinar’s panel were Dr. John Novak, medical director of OhioHealth’s ALS Clinic, and Mindy Henderson, director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and editor-in-chief of Quest Magazine. Like MS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and muscular dystrophy are neuromuscular diseases that ultimately affect a person’s ability to get around.
“There are so many logistics to coordinating going to a doctor’s visit,” said Henderson during the panel. Mobility challenges are exacerbated by factors like parking and navigating through a building.
“In a lot of cases, the ease and efficiency of telehealth, combined with the elimination of so much of the added stress that comes along with those logistical factors, has really improved the experience of keeping up with their practitioners and addressing health concerns,” Hendersen added.
Novak agreed, noting that physical limitations can make getting to and from appointments a challenge for those with conditions like MS. On top of the issue of limited mobility is the scarcity of available health care providers specializing in neurodegenerative diseases. Telehealth can bridge that gap, allowing people to access experts who may practice in locations far away.
Novak added that telehealth visits aren’t restricted to physicians, but can include your entire care team, such as physical therapists, nurses, and cognitive behavioral therapists.
The Telehealth Awareness Week event — hosted by the American Telemedicine Association from Sept. 19 through Sept. 25 — explored the role telehealth plays in delivering health care services. The next Telehealth Awareness Week is scheduled to begin on Sept. 18, 2022.