This 75-minute webinar featured presentations and conversations around the use of telemedicine and its role for care and diagnostic purposes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telemedicine has been widely adopted and fast tracked for use; however, there are still ongoing and future challenges which need further consideration.
In the opening of the webinar, ADI CEO Paola Barbarino shared a story from Joanna who was diagnosed with dementia over telemedicine during the pandemic. Sharing her experience, Joanna said: “One thing I felt I missed from the online consultation was reality. Until I was diagnosed in the hospital by the doctor in the same room and with my husband present, I was in denial. When I was with another doctor who knows me well…I told him my news and this kind man hugged me. That kindness helped me.”
Following Joanna’s story, Professor Henry Brodaty, Scientia Professor of Ageing and Mental Health, UNSW and Co-Director of Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing), Australia gave an overview of telemedicine and its challenges in practice. Dr Ismael Calandri, Behavioural Neurologist and Statistician at FLENI, presented next with an overview of how telemedicine had been instrumental in reaching people, particularly in harder to access communities, in Argentina and Latin America during the pandemic.
Dr Maiya Geddes, Assistant Professor, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Canada was the third speaker to present. During her presentation, Dr Geddess touched on the best practices for remote assessment of cognitively impaired adults, with a particular emphasis on guidelines and considerations necessary for conducting cognitive assessments online. Dr Mina Chandra, Head of Department of Psychiatry and Centre of Excellence in Mental Health, ABVIMS and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, India, followed Dr Geddes’s presentation with an overview of the use use of telemedicine from a care perspective. Like most of the speakers, Dr Chandra agreed that there were still roadblocks that needed addressing but that telemedicine as a tool was here to stay.
The final speaker for the webinar was Dr Temitope Farombi, Consultant Neurologist, Chief Tony Anenih Geraitric Center, University College Hospital, Nigeria. In her presentation, Dr Temitope explained how telemedicine had been used in the country for the last 15 years but was still met with some resistance from clinicians. However, she explained that since the COVID-19 pandemic, the acceptability of its use for care purposes had grown significantly.