Falls Church, VA — Inova Health System is the first health system in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC area, and one of the first in the United States, to offer a new FDA-approved telemedicine option for remote neuromodulation of deep brain stimulation (DBS) patients being treated for Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

The NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic, made by Abbott, enables physicians to communicate remotely with their DBS patients in real time and prescribe treatment settings to help ensure a proper response to their DBS or neurostimulation device. The new system is designed to change the treatment approach for patients suffering from movement disorders and will allow the Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center to use the latest in remote treatment technologies to bridge traditional barriers to specialty care: access, distance and time.

DBS treatment, once started, can take several appointments to find the setting that optimally improves symptoms. Patients with movement disorders often must travel an average of 150 miles or more to meet with movement disorders specialists who offer DBS. Abbott’s NeuroSphere™ Virtual Clinic technology enables Inova’s movement disorder experts to adjust a DBS patient’s device remotely and provide follow-up care from any location using a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

“Integrating telehealth into our clinic in response to COVID-19 has helped eliminate the barrier of travel for those disabled, at a distance, or quarantined during the pandemic, and lift a possible burden in access to care for those patients who need the expertise of a movement disorders specialist,” said Drew Falconer, MD, Movement Disorders Specialist, Co-Medical Director, Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center. “Now, the ability to adjust a person’s DBS implant remotely through neurostimulation with use of the NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic brings a new, state-of-the-art treatment for Parkinson’s and essential tremor disease to the next level, by allowing us to fine tune the system outside of an in-person setting anytime, anywhere.”

With DBS therapy, electrodes are implanted into targeted areas within the brain to provide electrical stimulation which helps control symptoms such as tremor, slowness of movement, dexterity and more — which often occur in conditions such as Parkinson’s or essential tremor. The electrodes are then connected internally to the neurostimulator, a small device implanted under the skin below the collarbone.

“Our commitment is to advance the quality of life of those living with Parkinson’s and essential tremor through diagnosis and a range of treatment methods including the use of technology, education, rehabilitation and a supportive community,” said James Ecklund, MD, FACS, Col (Ret.), MC US Army, President, Inova Neurosciences.  “There is no better way to meet this commitment than to be among the first to offer life-changing treatments such as DBS and now remote neuromodulation for DBS patients in order to enhance care by meeting patients where they are.”

“Use of digital therapies and telehealth in DBS treatment gives us a way into the future with something we’ve not been able to do before, and that is to help DBS patients receive stimulation settings in real time and remotely via cloud and Bluetooth-based technology. This is particularly helpful to patients who have great difficulty in getting physically to the doctor’s office.” said Dan Larriviere MD, JD, FAAN, Associate Chair, Neurology, Inova Neurosciences.

The Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center is part of Inova Neurosciences, which offers comprehensive care of neurological conditions, including neurosurgery, as well as neurological education, clinical trials and research. The center saw more than 2,000 movement disorders patients, conducted over 6,500 clinical visits and had 50 patients qualified for treatment who received DBS implants in 2020. To learn more about the Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center, find a clinic location, or hear from patients who have DBS devices, click here. To learn more about Inova Neurosciences, click here, or to read Inova Neurosciences Outcomes Report, click here.

Media Contact: Tracy Connell, tracy.connell@inova.org, 703-289-2087

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About Inova

Inova is Northern Virginia’s leading nonprofit healthcare provider, recognized in 2019 and 2020 by U.S. News & World Report, which named Inova Fairfax Hospital the #1 hospital in the Washington, DC region. Each of Inova’s five hospitals holds a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), distinguishing Inova as the highest-rated large health system in the U.S., and the only system to have all hospitals receive five stars.  All five Inova hospitals were awarded ‘A’ grades for the fall 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, recognizing Inova’s achievements in protecting patients from harm and providing safer healthcare. Inova Fairfax Medical Campus was named to the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals list, ranking in the top 10 nationwide among Major Teaching Hospitals. Our mission is to provide world-class healthcare – every time, every touch – to each person in every community we have the privilege to serve. Inova’s 18,000 team members serve more than 2 million individuals annually through an integrated network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, emergency and urgent care centers, outpatient services and destination institutes. Inova is home to Northern Virginia’s only Level 1 Trauma Center and Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Its hospitals have a total of 1,936 licensed beds. More information and statistics about Inova can be found at www.inova.org.

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