A post pandemic roadmap toward remote assessment for neuromuscular disorders: limitations and opportunities

Jacqueline Montes*, Katy J. Eichinger, Amy Pasternak, Cara Yochai, Kristin J. Krosschell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent advances in technology and expanding therapeutic opportunities in neuromuscular disorders has resulted in greater interest in and development of remote assessments. Over the past year, the rapid and abrupt COVID-19 shutdowns and stay-at-home orders imposed challenges to routine clinical management and clinical trials. As in-person services were severely limited, clinicians turned to remote assessments through telehealth to allow for continued care. Typically, disease-specific clinical outcome assessments (COAs) for neuromuscular disorders (NMD) are developed over many years through rigorous and iterative processes to fully understand their psychometric properties. While efforts were underway towards developing remote assessments for NMD before the pandemic, few if any were fully developed or validated. These included assessments of strength, respiratory function and patient-reported outcomes, as well as wearable technology and other devices to quantify physical activity and function. Without many choices, clinicians modified COAs for a virtual environment recognizing it was not yet known how they compared to standard in-person administration. Despite being able to quickly adapt to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, these experiences with remote assessments uncovered limitations and opportunities. It became clear that existing COAs required modifications for use in a virtual environment limiting the interpretation of the information gathered. Still, the opportunity for real-world evaluation and reduced patient burden were clear benefits to remote assessment and may provide a more robust understanding and characterization of disease impact in NMD. Hence, we propose a roadmap navigating an informed post-pandemic path toward development and implementation of safe and successful use of remote assessments for patients with NMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalOrphanet journal of rare diseases
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Clinical outcome assessments (COA)
  • Clinical trials
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Outcome measure
  • Remote assessment
  • Telehealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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