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UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Get with the Guidelines 2017

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has once again honored the UR Medicine Strong Memorial Hospital as having met its highest standards of care for stroke.

Strong Memorial Hospital has received the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines program’s Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The hospital was also tapped for the Target: Stroke Honor Role Elite Plus, which recognizes hospitals that have consistently and successfully reduced door-to-needle time – the window of time between a stroke victim’s arrival at the hospital, the diagnosis of an acute ischemic stroke, and the administration of the clot-busting drug tPA. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.

“This recognition is a testament to the hard work of our outstanding team of nurses, physicians, and therapists and their dedication to provide the highest quality of care to stroke victims,” said neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., the medical director of the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center.

“This award reflects a singular focus on improving the care stroke victims receive from the first 911 call to when they arrive at the hospital through operating room, neurocritical care, and rehabilitation,” said Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., the surgical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Strong Memorial Hospital is home to the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center, a designation by the Joint Commission that indicates that the hospital either meets or exceeds the highest standards of care required to provide timely and comprehensive care to patients with complex cerebrovascular disease.

The AHA/ASA Get With the Guidelines program recognizes hospitals that have reached aggressive goals of treating stroke patients and comply with core standard levels of care. For more information about the Get With The Guidelines program, visit the AHA/ASA website.

Read More: UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care

Special Chair Update - Two Legendary Faculty

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dick Moxley and David Wang

Retirements do not happen often. On June 30th, 2017 Drs. Richard Moxley and David Wang will be retiring. They both will become Emeritus Professors in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Department, School and University.

They both started in the Department in 1974, 43 years ago, Dick as a faculty and David as a resident. And they stayed, one practicing primarily adult neurology (Dick) and the other (David) child neurology, but each doing a little bit of both along the way.

Read More: Special Chair Update - Two Legendary Faculty

Free Telemedicine Program for Parkinson's Patients

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A program called Parkinson's Disease Care New York exists to help eliminate the obstacles facing patients who need to see a neurologist. This type of doctor can mainly be found in large metropolis areas so anyone in a rural community might have a tough time getting access to healthcare.

By linking the patient to the doctor via computer, the neurologist can monitor symptoms more regularly and follow the patient more closely--even diagnose new treatments without the patient even leaving their home. Currently 109 patients are enrolled and the program can provide for 500 people statewide. To find out more, go to the PDCNY facebook page.

Read More: Free Telemedicine Program for Parkinson's Patients

Featured in The Science Times: How Alzheimer's Catches People Skimping Sleep: New Study Explains Cause Of Dementia

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Photo of Dr. Maiken Nedergaard

A recent scientific study shows that insufficient amount of sleep leads to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers gain more evidence and are beginning to believe that lack and poor quality of sleep results to the fusion of Amyloids, proteins that bond together to form Alzheimer's plaques.

Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, the lead researcher from the University of Rochester Medical Center, explains the glymphatic system that is present in humans. She says that this system is 10 times more active when in slumber than when awake. The process allows cerebrospinal fluid to flow through spaces around the neurons of people's brains. This a method of purging unwanted proteins (Amyloids) and other wastes into the circulatory system garbage collectors and eventually flushes it out of the body.

In simple terms, Nedergaard explains that the brain has its own sanitation and public works department. It is like a network of sewer facilities mostly done during the brain's nightlife. An example of a housekeeping staff descending to building offices for a cleanup duty to avoid the lumping compound that causes Alzheimer's.

Read More: Featured in The Science Times: How Alzheimer's Catches People Skimping Sleep: New Study Explains Cause Of Dementia

URMC’s Telemedicine Efforts Build on a Firm Foundation

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The fast-rising tide of telemedicine will transform health care nationwide. Here at URMC, dozens of faculty and departments are already ensuring our readiness to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges of that transformation, even as we continue to help drive it forward with our innovative programs.

The recent appointment of Ray Dorsey, M.D., director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics and professor of Neurology, as URMFG’s Medical Director of Telemedicine reflects our growing commitment to the technology, but the work his colleagues have been doing means he has a firm foundation to build on. We’ve been providing telemedicine in some form for well over a decade, and the already-significant number of services available here is constantly growing.

Waves of Innovation

Imagine a health care system in which a doctor can check a patient’s airway before surgery with a smartphone instead of bringing the patient in for an extra appointment, or listen to the heart and lungs of a recently discharged patient at home to help prevent readmissions.

For URMC, that’s already the reality, and in some departments it has long been routine. Pediatrics, for example, piloted telemedicine programs 15 years ago and remains a leader. Under the leadership of Kenneth McConnochie, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Pediatrics, and Neil Herendeen, M.D., M.S., medical director of the Strong Pediatric Practice, Rochester-area primary care physicians have offered pediatric telemedicine visits to students in the Rochester City School District and many childcare centers for over a decade in a highly successful effort that has provided care to thousands of children.

“A clearly demonstrated benefit for patients and their families is convenience,” said McConnochie, a nationally recognized expert who has appeared before Congress. “An important question has always been whether anything is lost when you gain that convenience. If telemedicine is done right—and that’s the challenge— our evaluations indicate that nothing is lost in diagnostic accuracy or in quality of communication with family. You get all the convenience of care when and where you need it, and equivalent quality of care.”

The benefits go beyond that. Parents get the peace of mind of having a quickly scheduled visit and the convenience of not needing to leave work to bring their children to the doctor. Childcares and schools get just-in-time physician guidance in addressing health issues. All of that leads to satisfaction for the providers involved.

“The impact ripples across all stakeholders in the care and education of children,” McConnochie said.

No wonder, then, that telemedicine is rippling across our institution and our service area. VNS monitors patients remotely, and primary care began piloting telemedicine visits this past July at their Manhattan Square Family Medicine and LeRoy Medical Associates locations. But those programs are only part of our effort.

We have nearly two dozen programs at various stages of implementation. Along with coordinating our telemedicine efforts, Dorsey works with Parkinson disease patients worldwide. Other faculty members offer genetic counseling, pediatric dental consultations for oral surgery, and mental health consultation and liaison services for primary care doctors, rural hospitals and long-term care facilities.

“Telemedicine means our highly skilled specialists can provide care to more people and make those interactions more convenient,” Dorsey said. “Our ultimate vision for URMC telemedicine is to enable any New Yorker to receive care from our faculty. We want to bring care to the patient, rather than the patient to care.”

Introducing the Center for NeuroTherapeutics Discovery

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Center for Neural Development and Disease, led by Harris A. (Handy) Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D., since 2008, will now be the Center for NeuroTherapeutics Discovery, reflecting an increased emphasis on translation and the creation of intellectual property that will lead to new therapies for nervous system disorders.

Gelbard, professor of Neurology, Pediatrics, Neuroscience and Microbiology & Immunology, will continue as director. His research, coupled with the work of Charles Thornton, M.D., professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, and Marc Halterman, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Neurology, Neuroscience and Pediatrics, will serve as the anchor of the new center. The trio has a strong track record of grants, publications, and patents, as well as academic and commercial relationships that they are actively pursuing to bring new treatments to the public.

“The Center for NeuroTherapeutics Discovery was developed out of the Center for Neural Development and Disease to create more visibility for academic and commercial partnerships as a necessary bridge for bringing new therapeutics forward,” said Gelbard. “This represents a way to do the best and most cutting edge science possible in a time when the traditional avenues towards funding academic research are changing rapidly.”

The center will bring together many investigators from across the Medical Center and River Campus to identify the mechanisms that lead to various neurological disorders, including HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (Gelbard lab), myotonic dystrophy (Thornton lab) and stroke (Halterman lab). The center remains committed to its members that investigate the molecular signaling events that lead to nervous system disease during development and aging. Industry partnerships and resources will be sought to fast-track existing therapies or create new molecules that affect these disease mechanisms.

Treatments that harness the immune system to help regenerate damaged cells will be a major focus at the center; the team believes that this approach is broadly applicable to a range of acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Kayson Honored for Improving Care for Huntington’s Patients and Families

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Elise Kayson and Ira ShoulsonElise Kayson, M.S., R.N.C., A.N.P., has been recognized by the Huntington Study Group with its Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to seeking treatments that make a difference and improving the quality of life and outcomes for families affected by the disease.

The Huntington Study Group (HSG) is a network of more than 400 investigators, coordinators, scientists, and Huntington’s disease experts spread across more than 100 research sites across the globe. HSG brings together patients, families, academic and industry researchers, foundations, and government agencies to seek new treatments that improve the life of individuals with the disease.

Elise continues to be an essential ingredient and role model for the success of the HSG, the many patients and families who we serve, and is a real prize that we celebrate and emulate,” said Ira Shoulson, M.D., the founder of the HSG, a former professor of Neurology at URMC, and currently a professor of Neurology at Georgetown University.

Elise’s tireless commitment to Huntington’s patients and their families and her 20 plus years of experience in pharmaceutical research has been essential to our efforts to develop new ways to treat this devastating disease,” said URMC neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D., M.B.A., chair of the HSG. This award recognizes her dedication and critical role she plays in managing the complex research necessary to bring new drugs to market.”

Read More: Kayson Honored for Improving Care for Huntington’s Patients and Families

Here’s What Your Future Doctor Visits Could Look Like

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Today’s office visit to a doctor involves a patient, a family member, and a physician 97% of the time. Tomorrow’s visit will engage nurse practitioners, nutritionists, genetic counselors, pharmacists, therapists, social workers, mental health professionals, and exercise coaches. The Internet enables clinicians to connect patients at different times based on need, not travel burden. Just as more clinicians will contact patients, more caregivers including children living in different cities and countries will participate remotely in visits through video conferencing.

The nature of visits will also change. Patient-generated data creates the opportunity for the visit to be a true data exchange. Tomorrow’s visit will include objective, high frequency and real-time streaming data, including blood pressure, glucose levels, activity levels, diet, and social engagement metrics. Patients will control the data from novel sensors and grant clinicians access at the patients’ direction.

"""Read More: Here’s What Your Future Doctor Visits Could Look Like

URMC Plays Key Role in New Huntington’s Drug

Thursday, April 6, 2017

University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) researchers were instrumental in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent approval of SD-809 (deutetrabenazine) to treat Huntington’s disease. Deutetrabenazine is the only the second drug authorized by the agency to treat this rare, inherited neurodegenerative disorder.

The FDA approval was based on results from the First-HD study, a Phase 3 clinical trial which was conducted through the Huntington Study Group (HSG) via a consortium of 34 sites across the U.S. and Canada on behalf of Teva Pharmaceuticals. The study results were published last July in Journal of the American Medical Association.

The URMC Clinical Trials Coordination Center (CTCC) and Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology – under the leadership of Elise Kayson, M.S., A.N.P., and David Oakes Ph.D. – provided scientific, technical, logistical, and analytical support for the First-HD study The CTCC is part of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics (CHET) and is a unique academic-based research organization with decades of experience working with industry, foundations, and governmental researchers in bringing new therapies to market for neurological disorders.

Read More: URMC Plays Key Role in New Huntington’s Drug

URMC to Host Technology & Rare Neurological Diseases Symposium

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Technology & Rare Neurological Diseases Symposium (TRNDS), taking place Friday, May 12, aims to spark a national discussion among patients, researchers, and policy experts on how to accelerate clinical trials for rare diseases that attack the nervous system. New technologies may ease the burden of traveling to research sites for patients and increase the flow of information about these diseases for researchers and healthcare providers.

Finding enough patients to conduct clinical studies on rare diseases can be very difficult. Patients are spread far and wide and are often required to travel long distances or even move to access care and participate in clinical trials. And patients with rare neurological diseases often have physical and/or mental disabilities that make travel even more burdensome.

These difficulties lead to a lack of “natural history” knowledge about these diseases – what they are, who they impact, how symptoms unfold over time.

Read More: URMC to Host Technology & Rare Neurological Diseases Symposium

UR Medicine Opens Neuromedicine and Behavioral Health Center for Pediatric Patients

Friday, March 31, 2017

Photo of Behavioral Health Center

UR Medicine’s Neuromedicine and Behavioral Health Center celebrates its opening on March 29. The center brings together Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Child Neurology, and Child Psychiatry to collaborate on care for pediatric patients, and is home to the new William and Mildred Levine Autism Clinic that provides specialized care for patients with autism spectrum disorder.

This is the region’s first stand-alone center to integrate care of autism with pediatric neuromedicine and child and adolescent psychiatry services, and will serve more than 25,000 patients each year.

UR Medicine’s new 90,000-square-foot, three-story building, located at 200 East River Road, has created space to relocate outpatient imaging, interventional radiology clinics as well as autism/neuromedicine/behavioral health pediatric programs from the University of Rochester Medical Center campus to an easily accessible location along the I-390 corridor. The site will be a regional destination for patients and families seeking specialized pediatric services.

Read More: UR Medicine Opens Neuromedicine and Behavioral Health Center for Pediatric Patients

Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck

Thursday, March 9, 2017

astrocytes and neuronsA new study shows that the brain’s waste removal system serves as both trash collector and delivery service, providing neurons with a protein important to maintaining cognitive function while simultaneously cleaning brain tissue. The research may help explain why different genetic varieties of the protein, called apolipoprotein E (apoE), can indicate risk for Alzheimer’s disease or promote longevity.

The study was led by Rashid Deane, B.Sc., Ph.D., a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery and member of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, and appears in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration.

ApoE is responsible for delivering cholesterol to nerve cells in the brain and plays a key role in synaptic plasticity, the process by which neurons build new connections in order to learn and store memories.

Read More: Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck

Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A new study shows that the brain’s waste removal system serves as both trash collector and delivery service, providing neurons with a protein important to maintaining cognitive function while simultaneously cleaning brain tissue. The research may help explain why different genetic varieties of the protein, called apolipoprotein E (apoE), can indicate risk for Alzheimer’s disease or promote longevity.

The study was led by Rashid Deane, B.Sc., Ph.D., a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery and member of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, and appears in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration.

Read More: Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck

Study: Home Care Improves Stroke Outcomes

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Photo of Strong Memoroial Hospital ED

Stroke patients who are paired with caregivers that help them transition back to their homes are significantly less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. The results of the pilot study, which showed a 39 percent reduction in the readmission rates of stroke patients at Strong Memorial Hospital, were presented last week at the International Stroke Conference in Texas.

The study was authored by Ann M. Leonhardt Caprio, M.S., R.N., A.N.P. and Curtis G. Benesch, M.D., M.P.H. with the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center, and Denise Burgen, M.B.A., M.S.N., F.N.P, R.N. with UR Medicine Home Care.

The study focused on one of the measures used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine quality of stroke care – whether or not a patient is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged after suffering a stroke.

Read More: Study: Home Care Improves Stroke Outcomes

Schor to Receive Child Neurology Society's Highest Honor

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Photo of Nina Schor

Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D., William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics and the pediatrician-in-chief at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital, has been named the recipient of the Child Neurology Society’s 2017 Hower Award, the organization’s highest honor.

The award is given annually to a child neurologist for being an outstanding teacher, scholar, and for making high levels of contributions to the field and to the Child Neurology Society. Schor, who has spent much of her career researching neuroblastoma, one of the most common childhood cancers, will be recognized at the society’s annual meeting in October, in Kansas City, Mo. She will also have the honor of giving the annual Hower lecture.

“I am so honored and excited to accept this award and present the associated lecture to an audience comprised of my colleagues, friends, mentors, and trainees,” said Schor.

The Child Neurology Society is the preeminent non-profit professional association of pediatric neurologists in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. Schor, the University of Rochester Medical Center’s seventh Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, joined the university in 2006.

Read More: Schor to Receive Child Neurology Society's Highest Honor

Faculty Reflect on SMH Stroke Center Highlighted in Super Bowl Ad

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A new ad that will premiere during the Super Bowl focuses on Strong Memorial Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. You can watch it here. We asked neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., and neurosurgeon Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., about UR Medicine’s stroke care and what is being done to improve access for patients across the region.

What does SMH’s designation by the Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center mean?

Benesch: Designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center indicates that our center either meets or exceeds the highest standards of care required to provide timely and comprehensive care to patients with complex cerebrovascular disease. Our site has undergone rigorous site visits and annual reviews by the Joint Commission to ensure that we satisfy all the requirements for this designation, including metrics for primary stroke care, surgical stroke care, endovascular care, critical care, longitudinal outpatient care, research, education and outreach.

How does this designation differentiate the hospital from other stroke centers?

Bhalla: All Comprehensive Stroke Centers must provide neurosurgical care, endovascular care, and neuro-critical care. These efforts are enabled in part by a well-established interdisciplinary infrastructure of exemplary stroke care (EMS, emergency medicine, nursing, therapy, and rehabilitation). Although other sites in the region may provide some of these aspects of care, UR Medicine is the only certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in Rochester, reflecting our willingness to submit to the scrutiny of external review to ensure we meet those high standards. It is not just a label but rather a public affirmation of the breadth and depth of a large multidisciplinary team of providers working together.

What is being done to extend stroke care across the health system? For example, if you are a stroke patient and you arrive at a regional hospital supported by UR Medicine, what does that mean for the care you receive?

Benesch: We support all of our regional partners with immediate availability of consultations with experts in Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery, Stroke Neurology, and Neurocritical care. These experts can help in acute treatment decisions and, with our transfer center, can facilitate transfer of patients to Strong Memorial Hospital as needed. Furthermore, we have developed a coverage model to provide 24/7 telestroke consultation to hospitals across the region in an effort to enhance acute stroke care.

Providing timely, appropriate, and comprehensive care for stroke patients requires a high level of coordination and collaboration among caregivers. What is necessary to facilitate communication, coordination, and continuity of care across the team?

Bhalla: First and foremost, the team has to believe in the concept that the more of a difference that we can make up front, the better a stroke patient will fare in the long run. The care they receive from the first 911 call to when they arrive at the hospital is only the beginning of a journey that continues through operating room, neurocritical care, and rehabilitation and is one that will determine how much function a stroke victim will ultimately recover. We all play a part, but everyone must share the same vision. Internally, it means that all the groups that represent the continuum of care must continually focus on ways to improve communication and coordination. But this also requires building awareness and education within the community. People need know how to identify the signs of stroke and EMS providers need to know what to do and where to take patients.

What does the future hold for stroke care?

Bhalla: We are committed to continuing to find creative ways to deliver the highest level of stoke care to patients where and when they need it. This includes working with community providers and partnering with EMS to leverage the resources of our Comprehensive Stroke Center to diagnose and potentially begin treatment for stroke patients even before they reach the hospital.

URMC Drug Extends Effectiveness of HIV Therapy

Monday, January 30, 2017

Major Step toward Longer-Lasting HIV Treatment

Image of hand stating Stop HIV

A drug developed at the University of Rochester Medical Center extends the effectiveness of multiple HIV therapies by unleashing a cell’s own protective machinery on the virus. The finding, published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is an important step toward the creation of long-acting HIV drugs that could be administered once or twice per year, in contrast to current HIV treatments that must be taken daily.

The drug, called URMC-099, was developed in the laboratory of UR scientist Harris A. (“Handy”) Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D. When combined with “nanoformulated” versions of two commonly used anti-HIV drugs (also called antiretroviral drugs), URMC-099 lifts the brakes on a process called autophagy.

Normally, autophagy allows cells to get rid of intracellular “trash,” including invading viruses. In HIV infection, the virus prevents cells from turning on autophagy; one of the many tricks it uses to survive. When the brake on autophagy is lifted, cells are able to digest any virus that remains after treatment with antiretroviral therapy, leaving cells free of virus for extended periods of time.

Photo of Dr. Gelbard

Harris A. (“Handy”) Gelbard, M.D., Ph.D.

“This study shows that URMC-099 has the potential to reduce the frequency of HIV therapy, which would eliminate the burden of daily treatment, greatly increase compliance and help people better manage the disease,” said Gelbard, professor and director of UR’s Center for Neural Development and Disease, who has studied HIV/AIDS for the past 25 years. The finding builds on previous research that Gelbard conducted with Howard E. Gendelman, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology/Experimental Neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Read More: URMC Drug Extends Effectiveness of HIV Therapy

The House Call of the Digital Age: Ray Dorsey to Lead URMFG’s Telemedicine Efforts

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ray Dorsey

Neither telemedicine’s increasing prominence nor URMFG’s growing commitment to it comes as a surprise to Ray Dorsey, M.D.

After all, he, like many other URMC faculty members, has spent the last decade building expertise in the field. He knows its potential, believes in its future, and is ready to help us capitalize on existing programs to ensure our group practice is embracing this technology as it increasingly transforms the national health care landscape.

And now, he will be applying his knowledge and skills as URMFG’s Medical Director of Telemedicine.

“This appointment reflects our commitment to new technologies and care modalities, as well as to faculty leadership,” said Michael F. Rotondo, M.D., F.A.C.S., CEO of URMFG. “Ray and many of his colleagues have long been on telemedicine’s cutting edge. His new role will provide a focal point for those efforts and help us further define our telemedicine strategy, leading to better access and increased convenience for our patients, and to an improved experience for providers.”

UR Medicine is not actively pursuing a retail telemedicine strategythat is, providers virtually caring for consumers through a website such as MD Live or Doc-on-Demandfor its primary care network, Rotondo noted. However, it does want to offer telemedicine visits for existing patients and ensure access to specialists. Like other URMC faculty, Dorsey does exactly that, providing digital Parkinson’s care to patients worldwide—a knowledge base he can now put to work across our organization.

“For patients, it can be incredible,” said Dorsey, director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics and professor of Neurology. “They love the fact that a doctor is coming to them. It’s the house call of the digital age. In a traditional visit, we the healthy ask the sick to come to us on our terms, whereas telemedicine allows us to connect with the sick on their terms.”

Benefits for Patients – and Providers, Too

The impetus to develop our telemedicine presence comes from many sources, including national trends. Some experts predict that fully 25 percent of patient care will be delivered digitally by 2020. Meanwhile, reimbursement changes are likely to hasten telemedicine’s growth and make it more attractive to providers.

But Dorsey articulates the main reason behind our efforts: Telemedicine is all about the patient.

It can bring our expert care to rural areas where specialists are scarce. It can meet the growing demand for convenient care, eliminating long drives or even allowing patients to see their doctors from home. And it can enhance the doctor-patient relationship by allowing providers to see patients in their own environments.

That means telemedicine serves many of our strategic goals, from becoming the local health system of choice to improving access to care.

But telemedicine also brings concrete benefits to providers, and to our health system as a whole. The easy access to care that it facilitates will help us as reimbursement models shift toward outcome-based payments and population health. Digital visits can cut down on drive time for providers, as they did for Imran Chaudhary, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine. He exchanged his once-a-week, hour-and-a-half trip to Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville for monthly telemedicine visits, during which he listens to patients’ hearts remotely.

Dorsey himself became involved in telemedicine when a nursing home in New Hartford asked him and another URMC doctor to help treat 50 residents with Parkinson’s who would find it difficult or impossible to travel for specialty care. The programand Dorsey’s interestgrew from there.

“Our vision is to enable any New Yorker to receive care from UR Medicine,” he said. “We’ll see what we can do to fulfill it.”

While telemedicine’s impact and effectiveness are still under study and debates on when it’s appropriate to use are ongoing, patients consistently report higher satisfaction when we treat them on their terms. Overcoming the barriers that prevent that from happening, from discomfort with technology to limited Internet and broadband access, will be a big part of Dorsey’s task.

“We need to find simple solutions,” he said. “The key is to do things that have never been done – something that’s integral to the spirit of Meliora.”

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New Trial Innovation Network Offers More Opportunities for Clinical Trials

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

URMC researchers will soon be able to take advantage of a new clinical trial network offering expertise on trial design and development as well as participant recruitment and retention. Researchers can propose a clinical trial for inclusion in the Trial Innovation Network, become a participating investigator in an existing multi-site trial or request consultation on clinical trial design through the network.

The Trial Innovation Network is the result of a major new national initiative to improve the nation's research infrastructure to make clinical trials faster, better, and more efficient.  According to recent estimates, it can take 12 or more years to get a new therapy from discovery, through clinical trials, and onto the market. That’s a very long time – especially for patients who could benefit from these drugs.

“The Trial Innovation Network will increase research opportunities for patients in all areas,” said Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., chair of Neurology and medical/faculty director of the Trial Innovation Network Hub Liaison Team at URMC. “We don't know how many trials the network will host, but there will be many - from neonatal to geriatric trials and various conditions from rare to common diseases.”

Building off previous clinical trial network models that are devoted to specific diseases, the Trial Innovation Network speeds the process by connecting institutions across the U.S. to share resources, recruit more trial sites, and maximize the number and diversity of trial participants. The Trial Innovation Network is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Program and will redefine the 64 CTSA hub institutions as clinical trial expert sites.

Read More: New Trial Innovation Network Offers More Opportunities for Clinical Trials

Brain Protein Predicts Recovery Time Following Concussion

Monday, January 9, 2017

Elevated levels of the brain protein tau following a sport-related concussion are associated with a longer recovery period and delayed return to play for athletes, according to a study published in the January 6, 2017 issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The findings suggest that tau, which can be measured in the blood, may serve as a marker to help physicians determine an athlete’s readiness to return to the game.

Despite the 3.8 million sports-related concussions that occur annually in the United States, there are no objective tools to confirm when an athlete is ready to resume play. Returning to play too early, before the brain has healed, increases an athlete’s risk of long-term physical and cognitive problems, especially if he or she sustains another concussion. Currently, physicians and trainers must make return-to-play decisions based on an athlete’s subjective, self-reported symptoms and their performance on standardized tests of memory and attention.

A team led by Jessica Gill, R.N., Ph.D. of the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health and Jeffrey Bazarian, M.D., M.P.H. of the University of Rochester Medical Center evaluated changes in tau in 46 Division I and III college athletes who experienced a concussion. Tau, which plays a role in the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was measured in preseason blood samples and again within 6 hours following concussion using an ultra-sensitive technology that allows researchers to detect single protein molecules.

Read More: Brain Protein Predicts Recovery Time Following Concussion

Yurcheshen receives ASMF award for sleep telemedicine

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Michael E. Yurcheshen MD, associate professor of neurology and medicine, has been granted a 2017 Focused Projects Award by the American Sleep Medicine Foundation. The award will fund a clinical trial aimed at exploring the reliability of telemedicine in evaluating patients with sleep apnea. The $20,000 award will allow Dr. Yurcheshen along with neurology, internal medicine, and psychiatry colleagues to study telemedicine for a medical condition that is both under recognized and undertreated. The results of this clinical trial are expected to lay the groundwork for a regional clinical program, and additional longitudinal sleep-telemedicine trials. Additional investigators on the grant include E. Ray Dorsey MD MBA, Carolina Marcus MD, Jonathan Marcus MD, and Wilfred Pigeon PhD.