Telemedicine is increasingly used to care for patients with movement disorders, but data regarding its global use are limited.
To obtain baseline international data about telemedicine use among movement disorder clinicians.
An online survey was sent to all 6,056 Movement Disorder Society members in 2015. Scope, reimbursement, and perceived quality of telemedicine were assessed.
There were 549 respondents (9.1% overall response rate) from 83 countries. Most (85.8%) were physicians, and most (70.9%) worked in an academic or university practice. Half of respondents (n = 287, from 57 countries) used telemedicine for clinical care; activities included e-mail (63.2%), video visits (follow-up [39.7%] and new [35.2%]), and video-based education (35.2%). One hundred five respondents personally conducted video visits, most frequently to outpatient clinics (53.5%), patient homes (30.8%), and hospital inpatients (30.3%). The most common challenges were a limited neurological examination (58.9%) and technological difficulties (53.3%), and the most common benefits were reduced travel time (92.9%) and patient costs (60.1%). The most frequent reimbursements were none (39.0%), public insurance (24.5%), and patient payment (9.3%). Half of respondents planned to use telemedicine in the future, and three-quarters were interested in telemedicine education.
More than 250 respondents around the world engage in telemedicine for movement disorders; most perceived benefit for patients, despite challenges and reimbursement for clinicians. Formal instruction on telemedicine is highly desired. Although the survey response was low and possibly biased to over represent those with telemedicine experience, the study provides baseline data for future comparison and to improve telemedicine delivery.