AU Health launches virtual clinic with device for patients with chronic pain, movement disorders


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Patients with chronic pain and movement disorders who don’t live near Augusta University can get medical treatment without having to travel.

Abbott’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic launched Monday. It allows patients to meet remotely with doctors. 80-year-old Richard Martinez has Parkinson’s. He lives in Griffin, Georgia, which his son said is about three hours from Augusta. Doctors placed an Abbott implantable pulse generator in his chest, similar to a pacemaker, that connects to his brain.  His neurologist then treats his chronic condition by using deep brain stimulation to control tremors, speed of movement, and his walk.

NewsChannel 6 watched as Dr. Julie Kurek, Neurologist with Augusta University Health, met with him remotely.

She told us about the program, “It’s a little bit kind of like a TV remote control in putting the volume up or the volume down. As I’m going up, the kind of sphere stimulation increases and I’m getting more potent stimulation and hopefully decrease of his Parkinson’s symptoms be it tremor or rigidity.”

Abbott’s NeuroSphere Virtual Clinic technology is FDA approved. Adding the device is free and batteries last up to five years. Patients pay for the virtual clinic like they would if they went in person.

Martinez’s son said an in-person visit takes one to two days.

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