Looking for a Headache Specialist: Neura Health Enters the Scene
Necessity is the mother of invention! That well-known proverb has proven to be true time and time again throughout history. Not surprisingly, this has also been seen as a result of the COVID pandemic. One of the innovations, or changes, that people with migraine have widely welcomed is that of telemedicine. Various online options are now available, but none quite like the service I recently discovered, Neura Health. Different from anything else I had seen before, this was a virtual neurology clinic focused specifically on headache disorders.
Introducing Neura Health
Neura Health’s mission is to empower people with headache disorders to better manage their condition. The program, headed up by Tom Berk, MD, associate director of the headache medicine fellowship at NYU, is unique. By downloading the Neura app and signing up for an account, you receive a headache tracker, unlimited messaging with your care team, a doctor's appointment every 3 months, and a customized treatment plan. There is even the option to add extra doctor visits for a minimal fee for those who need it.
How much is it and what does it offer?
It is priced to encourage people to try the service, costing just $1 for the first week and then only $28 p/month. However, despite the minimal cost, every doctor is either a board-certified headache specialist or a neurologist who has been trained in headache medicine. The difference is apparent immediately: treatment is affordable, accessible, and patients are prioritized.
Building a comprehensive picture
The process of setting up an account is fairly easy, although if you have an extensive health history, it could be a bit time-consuming. There is even an option to complete the forms on your computer if you prefer. Questions cover health conditions, surgeries, family health history, previous and current medications, allergic reactions, and more. This health profile may seem daunting at first glance, but it creates a comprehensive picture of your health and migraine history. Given the complexity of the disease, the comprehensive nature of the approach is impressive and helps build confidence in the process.What can you do once you've set up your profile?Once you’ve completed the health profile, you can start tracking migraine attacks. Making entries is designed to be fast and easy, which is key for people struggling with acute symptoms. Starting on day one, you can request a doctor’s appointment. It is even possible to get an appointment the next day. For those of us who are used to waiting 3 to 6 months to see a specialist, that in itself seems miraculous - even surreal.Discovering hope with a new providerFor anyone who has tried other virtual services, you may be used to short, impersonal, or even non-existent face-to-face appointments. Nothing could be further from the truth with Neura. In my appointment, the doctor allowed plenty of time to listen to my migraine history. He asked pertinent questions, listened to the replies, and at no time rushed the process. Depth of knowledge about migraineWhat really stood out to me, however, was the depth of knowledge demonstrated. It was obvious that the doctor not only knew all the most frequently prescribed migraine treatments but also those that are a bit more “off the beaten path.” Something that is especially key for people with intractable chronic migraine. I went into the appointment discouraged and doubtful – I came out with hope. And that hope is essential when living with a disease that takes so much.The bottom lineFor the millions who either do not have access to headache specialists or who need a second opinion, Neura offers something that is much needed. Currently, for those who live outside of Florida, they work with your PCP or existing doctor to recommend prescription medications and treatments. You have the option of the recommendations being sent either directly to your doctor or just to you. They will even help direct you to a local provider if needed. For those in Florida, medications can be prescribed for home delivery, and imaging can be ordered. However, Neura is growing fast, and they have already started the regulatory process in several other states.Changing perspectivePersonally, I’m excited to see how it develops over the next few years and am going to keep using the service. Even at these beginning stages, this is already a program worth checking out. Maybe, like me, you will discover that your perspective can change literally overnight!
When it comes to planning vacations or other events where travel is required, how much does migraine factor into your decision-making?