Background: This study reports a 5-year experience using videoconference (VC) technology in diagnosing and treating adult members of the Choctaw Nation with symptoms or complaints of cognitive impairment.
Methods: Patients were given the option of a VC session or a face-to-face evaluation in the clinic. Before their VC session, patients underwent neuropsychological testing, Clinical Dementia Rating, Geriatric Depression Scale and Neuropsychiatric Inventory, brain computed tomography, and routine blood tests. Physical observations made by VC included eyesight, hearing, facial expression, gait and station, coordination, tremor, rapid alternating movements, psychomotor activity, and motor tests of executive function. Cogwheeling and rigidity were tested by our on-site nurse, who also obtained vital signs as indicated.
Results: Between January 2005 and March 2010, there were 47 clinics, 171 visits, and 85 unique patients. There were 52 new evaluations and 119 follow-up visits. The number of visits ranged from one to eight and the length of follow-up from 1 month to 4.5 years. The no-show rate for all VC sessions in 2009 was 3%, and only two subjects in 5 years refused further VC visits.
Conclusion: Once cultural barriers are dealt with, VC-based diagnosis and treatment of adults with cognitive disorders who live in remote areas is feasible and well accepted by patients and families.
Copyright Â© 2011 The Alzheimer's Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.