Task Force on Telemedicine

Esther Cubo
Esther Cubo, Chair


MDS Staff Liaison: Katie Rash

Task Force Purpose

Demand for health care, both domestically and globally, is growing in developing countries; however, access to care continues to be limited in most countries.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic neurodegenerative condition that affects 500,000 individuals in the US and 4.1 million people worldwide, figures that are expected to increase twofold by 2030. Patients living in Brazil, China, and India will collectively account for 69% of the global burden of countries examined by 2030, but worldwide, most people with Parkinson's disease have likely not been diagnosed and never been treated.

In China, for example, there are 2 million people with PD but only 50 PD specialists in the entire country. In some regions of the world, none of those who have been identified as having Parkinson's disease have sought or received care for their condition. Forty percent of countries do not have access to anti-parkinsonian therapies. Together, the majority of people with Parkinson's disease in the world likely have not been diagnosed or received medical care for their condition.

Using simple, user-friendly technology, we can extend the reach of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society to provide chronic care to any patient, anywhere in the world. We can educate providers and health care professionals around the world on Parkinson's disease care and management. We can also leverage technology to increase awareness and effectiveness of research in Parkinson's disease.

To help increase access to care and to train providers around the world using technology, the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society launched a Telemedicine Task Force in 2012. As part of this effort, we have identified pilot projects in care and education that can lay the foundation for reaching the majority of people with Parkinson's disease.

Current Initiatives

Ongoing Projects

“Caring for the Majority: Telemedicine Management of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in Underserved Populations in People’s Republic of China: A Randomized Trial” – P.B. Chan, S. Liu, Z. Gu, J. An, C.M. Tanner (Beijing, People’s Republic of China)

Participation in expert telemedicine consultation presents logistical challenges for many community hospitals in People’s Republic of China. Expert telemedicine consultation is highly rated by PD patients and careers, even in advanced, progressive PD. Overcoming obstacles to telemedicine, and exploring options such as in home telemedicine visits and mobile applications will be important future directions to provide care when experts are scarce.

The Asynchronous Consultation for Movement Disorders (ACMD) Project

The ACMD program is a new initiative of the Telemedicine Task Force, bridging movement disorder specialists with local providers in African regions where access to specialists is otherwise limited. The pilot project uses a “store-and-forward” telemedicine model, to allow physicians across time-zones and with varying Internet speeds to participate.

MDS consultants based in North America and Europe advise on the diagnosis and management of movement disorder cases, benefiting the patients as well as serving as an education tool for local health teams. The project began with its first site in Lagos, Nigeria, and is now expanding to Cape Town, South Africa and Moshi, Tanzania. We look forward to continuing the expansion of the ACMD project to additional sites.

Telemedicine Survey, Dr. Anhar Hassan

Survey assessed demographics, telemedicine current use, perceived benefits and barriers, and desired future use of telemedicine and will be presented as a poster at the 2016 Berlin Congress.

Tele-Education Courses: Cameroon and Argentina, Dr. Ester Cubo, Dr. Emilia Gatto, Dr. Jacques Doumbe

Provide numerous tele-education sessions to undergraduate medical students in Cameroon and Argentina who have poor access to movement disorder specialists. Program will commence fall term of 2016.

Past Projects

Caring for the Majority, Dr. Ester Cubo

A web-based telemedicine program that educated general practitioners, residents, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, and neurologists in Cameroon.  Using telemedicine, the program provided participants with access to education in the field of Movement Disorders, which is currently unavailable in their region.


“The Past, Present, and Future of Telemedicine for Parkinson's Disease” – Meredith Achey BM, Jason L. Aldred MD, Noha Aljehani MD, Bastiaan R. Bloem MD, PhD, Kevin M. Biglan MD, MPH, Piu Chan MD, PhD, Esther Cubo MD, PhD, E. Ray Dorsey MD, MBA, Christopher G. Goetz MD, Mark Guttman MD, Anhar Hassan MB BCh, FRACP, Suketu M. Khandhar MD, Zoltan Mari MD, Meredith Spindler MD, Caroline M. Tanner MD, PhD, Pieter van den Haak MSc, Richard Walker MD, Jayne R. Wilkinson MD and on behalf of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society Telemedicine Task Force.

Educational Activities

Berlin Congress 2016 Skills Workshop: Neurology Without Borders, Dr. Mark Guttman and Dr. Ester Cubo

Task Force Members

Jason Aldred
Jawad Bajwa
Kevin Biglan
Bastiaan Bloem
Bill Chan
Nabila Dahodwala
Nicholas Galifianakis
Emilia Gatto
Christopher Goetz


Mark Guttman
Anhar Hassan
Susan Heath
Maya Katz
Suketu Khandhar
Mark Lambert
Dronacharya Lamichhane
Shen Yang Lim
Zoltan Mari


Njideka  Okubadejo
Alex Pantelyat
Bernard Ravina
Todd Sherer
Meredith Spindler
Caroline Tanner
Christina Vaughan
Richard Walker
Jayne Wilkinson