Extending Timely Stroke Treatment Using TeleHealth Technology

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For patients suffering ischemic stroke, time is brain. Every second counts. That’s why we, as neurologists, are using TeleHealth to quickly connect to patients in Emergency Departments, to evaluate and treat them as soon as possible. Using high-definition cameras, audio equipment and televisions in ED rooms, TeleHealth allows us to conduct real-time evaluations, often just 4 minutes after receiving a page. We consult with on-site physicians to determine the best treatment, including appropriate administration of tPA, interventional stroke treatment and follow up care plans.

Physicians have consulted specialists throughout the Intermountain Healthcare system via phone for years. However, now we are able to connect directly to a patient’s bedside, providing a critical safety net when timing is everything.

Rather than one of the on-site team being on the phone with a neurologist, trying to explain the patient’s symptoms (what the patient can see, feel, and move), the neurologist can actually see and speak with the patient to directly evaluate the patient.

And it’s making a real difference.

Since the Stroke TeleHealth program launched, we have seen more than 387 patients and administered tPA in 64 of those cases. When tPA is administered, Intermountain Healthcare’s average door-to-needle time is faster than the AHA benchmark of 60 minutes.

The TeleStroke program is not only supporting rural and community hospitals, it is also supporting our primary stroke centers when onsite neurologists are not available.

It’s exciting to be a part of a team that is transforming healthcare, strengthening teamwork across the system, and providing the best care possible – which includes reducing transfers to another hospital and keeping patients closer to their home, their family, and their support.