Toward a low-cost, in-home, telemedicine-enabled assessment of disability in multiple sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis Journal
digital health; disability; multiple sclerosis; remote trials; Telemedicine
Background: Remote assessment of neurological disability in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) could improve access to clinical care and efficiency of clinical research. Objective: To develop and validate a telemedicine-based MS disability examination that does not require an in-home examiner. Methods: Adults with MS were recruited after a standardized in-person Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) evaluation, and within 1 week underwent a blinded televideo-enabled EDSS examination with a different clinician. EDSS and tele-EDSS scores were compared. Results: Overall, 41 adults participated (mean (standard deviation (SD)) age: 47.0 years (11.6); median EDSS: 2 (range: 0–7)); 37 required no in-home assistance for the tele-EDSS evaluation (e.g. help positioning camera). Mean difference between EDSS and tele-EDSS was 0.34 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.07–0.61). For 88% of evaluations, tele-EDSS and EDSS scores were within 1 point (similar to reported in-person inter-rater differences). Unweighted kappa for agreement within 0.5 point was 0.72. Correlation for individual functional systems (FS) ranged from modest (vision: 0.37) to high (bowel/bladder: 0.79). Overall correlation between EDSS and tele-EDSS was 0.89 (p < 0.0001); and 0.98 (p < 0.0001) at EDSS range: 4–7. Conclusion: In this proof of principle study, disability evaluation in mild to moderate MS is feasible using telemedicine without an aide at the patient’s location.
Bove, R., Bevan, C., Crabtree, E., Zhao, C., Gomez, R., Garcha, P., Morrissey, J., Dierkhising, J., Green, A., Hauser, S., Cree, B., Wallin, M., & Gelfand, J. (2019). Toward a low-cost, in-home, telemedicine-enabled assessment of disability in multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 25 (11). http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458518793527