Feasibility of telemedicine research visits in people with Parkinson's disease residing in medically underserved areas

Tuhin Virmani, Mitesh Lotia, Aliyah Glover, Lakshmi Pillai, Aaron S. Kemp, Anu Iyer, Phillip Farmer, Shorabuddin Syed, Linda J. Larson-Prior, Fred W. Prior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Gait, balance, and cognitive impairment make travel cumbersome for People with Parkinson's disease (PwPD). About 75% of PwPD cared for at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Movement Disorders Clinic reside in medically underserved areas (MUAs). Validated remote evaluations could help improve their access to care. Our goal was to explore the feasibility of telemedicine research visits for the evaluation of multi-modal function in PwPD in a rural state. Methods: In-home telemedicine research visits were performed in PwPD. Motor and non-motor disease features were evaluated and quantified by trained personnel, digital survey instruments for self-assessments, digital voice recordings, and scanned and digitized Archimedes spiral drawings. Participant's MUA residence was determined after evaluations were completed. Results: Twenty of the fifty PwPD enrolled resided in MUAs. The groups were well matched for disease duration, modified motor UPDRS, and Montreal Cognitive assessment scores but MUA participants were younger. Ninety-two percent were satisfied with their visit, and 61% were more likely to participate in future telemedicine research. MUA participants traveled longer distances, with higher travel costs, lower income, and education level. While 50% of MUA participants reported self-reliance for in-person visits, 85% reported self-reliance for the telemedicine visit. We rated audio-video quality highly in approximately 60% of visits in both groups. There was good correlation with prior in-person research assessments in a subset of participants. Conclusions: In-home research visits for PwPD in MUAs are feasible and could help improve access to care and research participation in these traditionally underrepresented populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere133
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 12 2022


  • Parkinson's disease
  • Telemedicine
  • ambulatory monitoring
  • health equity
  • medically underserved area
  • rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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