A New Day: the role of telemedicine in reshaping care for persons with movement disorders

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Okun on the publication of “A New Day: the role of telemedicine in reshaping care for persons with movement disorders,” in the September 2020 issue of Movement Disorders.


The COVID‐19 pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of clinic‐based care for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. In response to the virus, many clinics across the world abruptly closed their doors to persons with Parkinson’s. Fortunately, a niche care model, telemedicine—first described in this journal a generation ago—emerged as the dominant means of providing care.

As we adjust to a new normal, we should center future care not on clinics, but on patients. Their needs, guided by clinicians, should determine how care is delivered, whether in the clinic, at home, remotely, or by some combination. Within this patient‐centered approach, telemedicine is an attractive care option but not a complete replacement for in‐person consultations, which are valuable for specific problems and for those who have access.

Now that many clinicians and patients have gained exposure to telemedicine, we can better appreciate its strengths (e.g., convenience) and limitations (e.g., restricted examination). We can also create a new future that utilizes the internet, video conferencing, smartphones, and sensors. This future will bring many clinicians to one patient, connect individual experts to countless patients, use widely available devices to facilitate diagnosis, and apply novel technologies to measure the disease in new ways. These approaches, which extend to education and research, enable a future where we can care for anyone anywhere, and we can begin to stem the tide of Parkinson’s.