We studied 442 patients who met the DSM-IV-TR criteria for dementia and whose treatment was initiated at the Kangwon National University Hospital (KNUH) in Chuncheon. Over a five-year period, there were 259 patients who regularly visited the KNUH dementia clinic in person, and 168 patients who received medical services from the dementia clinic via telemedicine. The telemedicine patients attended a public health centre in Hongcheon, a facility located in a rural area about 50 km south east of the KNUH. The mean treatment duration was significantly longer for the telemedicine group than for the clinical visit group (P < 0.001), with durations of 26.6 and 14.6 months, respectively. Low Clinical Dementia Rating scores (hazard ratio = 1.47, 95% confidence interval = 1.26-1.71) and use of telemedicine (hazard ratio = 0.55, 95% confidence interval = 0.42-0.72) were found to be independent predictive factors of increased treatment duration. These findings suggest that telemedicine may be useful in slowing disease progression in dementia patients in rural areas.
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