Telehealth as part of specialized ALS care: feasibility and user experiences with "ALS home-monitoring and coaching".
Van Eenennaam, Remko
Kruitwagen, Esther T.
Kruithof, Willeke J.
Slappendel, Marja J.
Van Den Berg, Leonard H.
Visser-Meily, Johanna M.A.
AMYOTROPHIC lateral sclerosis
CONTINUUM of care
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Frontotemporal Degeneration; May2020, Vol. 21 Issue 3/4, p183-192, 10p
Objective: To evaluate the use of telehealth as part of specialized care for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the user experiences of patients and healthcare professionals. Methods: Fifty patients with ALS were recruited from a single specialist center and used telehealth, consisting of an ALS-app for self-monitoring and messaging, alerts for symptom-worsening, and nurse practitioner follow-up. Patients self-monitored their well-being (daily report), body weight (weekly) and functional status (monthly). The use of the telehealth service was evaluated through adoption rate, dropout rate and adherence to self-monitoring. User-experiences were collected through online surveys among 23 patients and nine healthcare professionals, and interviews with 12 patients. Results: The adoption rate was 80%, dropout rate 4% and median follow-up was 11 months. Good adherence was seen in 49% of patients for well-being, 83% for body weight and 87% for functional assessment. For patients who discontinued using telehealth due to the end-of-life phase, median time between last measurement and death was 19 days. The majority of patients experienced using telehealth as easy, helpful, not burdensome, and reported satisfaction with flexible clinic visits and the continuity of care. Healthcare professionals reported that telehealth was of added value in ALS-care. Conclusions: ALS-care supplemented by home-monitoring and nurse practitioner follow-up was shown to be suitable and widely accepted by patients and healthcare professionals in our ALS clinic. Success factors were low self-monitoring burden, a user-friendly platform and the provision of personalized feedback. Further research is needed to replicate these findings in other ALS clinics. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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