ParkinsonNet, a low-cost innovation to optimize care for patients with Parkinson disease, was developed in 2004 as a network of physical therapists in several regions in the Netherlands. Since that time, the network has achieved full national reach, with 70 regional networks and around 3,000 specifically trained professionals from 12 disciplines. Key elements include the empowerment of professionals who are highly trained and specialized in Parkinson disease, the empowerment of patients by education and consultation, and the empowerment of integrated multidisciplinary teams to better address and manage the disease. Studies have found that the ParkinsonNet approach leads to outcomes that are at least as good as, if not better than, outcomes from usual care. One study found a 50 percent reduction in hip fractures and fewer inpatient admissions. Other studies suggest that ParkinsonNet leads to modest but important cost savings (at least US$439 per patient annually). These cost savings outweigh the costs of building and maintaining the network. Because of ParkinsonNet's success, the program has now spread to several other countries and serves as a model of a successful and scalable frugal innovation.
Keywords: ParkinsonNet; Parkinson’s disease; care networks; cost containment healthcare; low-cost innovation.