Objectives:The goals of this study were to assess the feasibility of maintaining multidisciplinary remote care, patient preferences, and outcomes of this transition because of COVID-19.Methods:From March 18, 2020 to June 3, 2020, 127 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who were scheduled to be seen in our ALS clinic were contacted and scheduled according their preference for a telemedicine visit, telephone visit, or postponement until the next available in-person visit. Age, time from disease onset, ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised, patient choices, and outcomes were recorded.Results:Patient visit preferences were 69% telemedicine, 21% telephone, and 10% postpone for a later in-clinic visit. Patients with higher ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised were more likely to choose the next in-person opening (P = 0.04). Age and time from disease onset were not related to visit type preference. There were 118 virtual encounters, of which 91 (77%) began as telemedicine and 27 (23%) as telephone visits. Most telemedicine visits were conducted successfully, but 10 were converted to a telephone visit. The clinic maintained 88.6% of patient volume compared with the prior year, during which most visits were in-person.Conclusions:Telemedicine care using synchronous videoconferencing is preferable and feasible for most patients on short notice, with telephone as back-up. Clinic volumes can be maintained. These findings support the conversion of a multidisciplinary ALS clinic to 1 with exclusively virtual visits when future events again disrupt in-person care.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology