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Telehealth Can Connect the Dots Between Chronic Pain, Mental Health

 - Telehealth advocates have argued that a connected health platform can help providers improve care management for patients with chronic pain. A New Jersey-based pain management and neurology clinic is putting that idea to the test.

Relievus Pain Management, based in Cherry Hill, N.J., and serving a wide swath of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has added a telemedicine platform to its list of treatments, which include medical marijuana, stem cell therapy, Ketamine infusion and electromedical therapy. The virtual care service enables the 20-site clinic’s 28 providers to monitor patients at home every day and change care plans as needed.

More importantly, the telehealth platform, developed by a Philadelphia-based startup called NeuroFlow, gives providers insight into the patient’s mental health – a key indicator of care plan adherence and an underlying cause for opioid addiction issues.

“We used to focus on one thing – the patient’s physical health,” says Young J. Lee, MD, a pain specialist and anesthesiologist and the clinic’s managing partner. “We used to document (a patient’s mental status), but we didn’t do anything about it. Now we’re paying attention to mental health and we’re realizing that pain is not just a physical issue. This is a physical and mental issue.”

Relievus integrated the NeuroFlow platform roughly three months ago. Participating patients are now able to download an app on their smartphone or mobile device, on which they log in each day to fill out an online questionnaire about their physical and mental health. On the other end, their care provider logs onto a dashboard each day to review the patient’s status and make changes to the care plan if needed.

Lee says the online platform is a vast improvement over the old method, in which providers asked patients to fill out a paper or tablet-based survey during their monthly visit. Patients were asked to think back over the previous month and try to describe their experiences – from which the provider would then have to decide whether to alter the care plan or keep going.

“Now we’re able to see on a daily basis how each patient is doing,” Lee says.

When factoring mental health into the treatment plan, that’s important. By listening to how each patient goes through his or her day, and how pain affects that daily routine, providers can begin to understand how pain affects the patient’s mental health. This, in turn, can lead to a better understanding of issues like stress, depression and addiction.

Lee says the mHealth platform is customizable, so that he can work with NeuroFlow’s technical team to select questions that address a specific condition. He anticipates modeling the platform to not only treat chronic pain, but PTSD, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking and other issues in which mental health and physical discomfort collide.

“This is not the final product,” he says. “There’s a lot more that can be done.”

And as healthcare providers, public health agencies and federal and state governments pour time and money into telehealth and mHealth treatments to combat opioid addiction and substance abuse, it’s important to remember that these platforms are still evolving.

As the technology has only been in use for three months, Lee says it will take time to gather enough data to determine its effectiveness. But that’s what mHealth can do – give providers information about their patients’ daily activities, including their mental health. Over time, they’ll have enough data to identify trends, causes and effects.

“This is a great tool,” Lee says of the mHealth platform. “We now have the chance to treat the whole patient.”

By |September 27th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Dr. Pryzbylkowski of Relievus became one of the first Physicians in the state to offer a minimally invasive solution

As we get older, all individuals hope to keep their mobility, freedom and independence. Day to day tasks, such as walking to get the mail or standing to cook dinner can become laborious or even impossible, often due to a diagnosis of Lumbar Stenosis. On Wednesday September 19th, 2018, Dr. Pryzbylkowski of Relievus became one of the first Physicians in the state to offer a minimally invasive solution to patients suffering from this disease.

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is primarily a degenerative, age-related narrowing of the lower spinal canal that is diagnosed in more than 1.2 million individuals in the U.S. each year. Onset typically occurs after the age of 50 and these symptoms include pain and numbness in the lower back, legs or buttocks, which limits the patient’s ability to stand and walk.

Vertos developed the MILD procedure to help treat this growing population of patients who are saying no to more invasive, spine destabilizing and costly surgeries. MILD is a Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression, in which a Physician removes excess ligament through a 5.1mm portal – with no incisions, sutures or overnight stays.

Click here to see more detail information

By |September 27th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Courier Post

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By |August 29th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Voice of the People, July 2, 2018

By |July 24th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Burlington County Times

By |July 24th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Northeast Times

By |July 23rd, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

South Jersey tries new tech in suicide prevention fight

By |July 18th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Independence from opioid oppression

By |July 17th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Abrams news article

By |July 6th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off

Main Line Times

LETTER: Let us declare independence from oppression of opioids

To the Editor:

On July Fourth, millions of Americans will come together to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, an historic testimonial against oppression that still inspires people around the world.

Today, millions of Americans are confronting another kind of oppression — opioid addiction.

At Relievus, we see the effects of this horrible epidemic every day. It has destroyed families, ruined lives and even led to an historic decrease in lifespan among sectors of the U.S. population.

According to recent reports, in 2016, 11.5 million people misused prescription opioids, while over 42,000 died from an opioid overdose. Roughly 40 percent of those deaths involved a prescription opioid. But the impact isn’t limited to opioid abusers. Another report puts the economic impact of each opioid overdose death at approximately $800,000.

It’s important to understand that people who abuse opioids are not weak or inferior. They simply are people trying to deal with their pain. Eventually this pain becomes difficult to manage until it begins affecting their quality of life.

Weaning patients off opioids is an important step. But managing pain takes an intense, multi-faceted approach. Most need social support, behavioral therapy and/or individual counseling. They cannot do it alone. It will take a united and coordinated front.

On this Fourth of July, let us reignite the spirit of American courage and community. Let us work to create a new dawn of independence from the oppression caused by the abuse of opioids and other drugs.

— Young Lee, MD, Havertown

By |June 27th, 2018|Categories: News||Comments Off