Background: Telemedicine carries the potential of improving accessibility to health services, especially for disabled people.
Objective: To assess the health-related outcomes of short-term implementation of telemedicine (telemed) for MS patients.
Methods: A prospective study of 40 MS patients divided into a control group and a telemed group was conducted, in two stages: A. Six months' follow-up for measurement of baseline health-related variables; B. Implementation stage, adding home telecare to the telemed group. A Health Value Compass was applied to assess the outcomes of home telecare implementation. Clinical status, cost data, patients' self-assessment of Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and satisfaction with telecare were studied.
Results: Patients in the telemed group demonstrated improved clinical outcome measured by symptoms severity. There was a decrease of at least 35% in the medical costs for 67% of the telemed group patients. Satisfaction with telecare was high and most patients would recommend this service to others.
Conclusions: The present pilot study, applying Health Value Compass-based analysis, suggests that telecare is a powerful tool for monitoring MS patients at home, carries the potential to improve health care while reducing costs, and should be considered for implementation as part of the management of chronic neurological diseases.