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Online Parkinson’s platform could revolutionise chronic disease care

ParkinsonNet connects patients with doctors in a virtual setting
Parkinsonnet

A decade after launch the online network ParkinsonNet is empowering patients in the Netherlands and has prospects in other long-term conditions.

The model delivers care through a network of professionals collaborating via a dedicated online platform to which patients also have access. It was developed following concerns over insufficient training for health professionals and poor communication between health professionals and patients.

Through the platform, patients can find information about treatment options and the professionals they need to help them. They are also given the option of having consultations in their own homes through secure video links.

Evidence has suggested this approach is able to give patients more control over their condition while reducing healthcare costs, causing researchers to suggests its potential in other chronic diseases, such as COPD and rheumatoid arthritis.

Research led by Prof Bastiaan Bloem of Radboud University Medical Centre found that patients value the chance to be seen by experts who understand their condition, while health professionals appreciate being able to communicate easily with similarly interested colleagues.

According to Prof Bloem, it has brought about national cost savings of up to €20m.

Marko van der Vegt, who has Parkinson's, told the researchers that ParkinsonNet gave him “self-empowerment” because keeping in contact with specialists via video link meant that he did not need to travel to hospital. He added that the network allowed him to “get the best care”.

A key aim of ParkinsonNet is to promote transparency about the quality of care, and the research found that the 'Parkinson healthcare finder' had proved especially successful. A web-based search engine, it allows both patients and doctors to identify ParkinsonNet specialists.

ParkinsonNet now operates across 66 regional networks in the Netherland, with almost 3,000 trained experts from 15 different disciplines covering the whole of the country.

28th March 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare

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