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HomeHealth & FitnessTelestroke Services For Hospitals And Clinics to Manage Stroke Patients.

Telestroke Services For Hospitals And Clinics to Manage Stroke Patients.

Telemedicine has revolutionized the healthcare sector with its effectiveness and convenience. Almost all healthcare domains, including stroke treatment, have undergone a significant metamorphosis. Telestroke is one such web-based branch of telemedicine that functions to treat stroke victims unable to make it to a specialized healthcare facility in time. Many hospitals have now adopted technical Telestroke programs to treat patients remotely, resulting in fewer hospital readmissions and lower mortality rates.

Strokes are caused by sudden and widespread brain cell death due to a lack of oxygen. Strokes are the third highest cause of death in the United States, primarily because of their limited treatment response time. Time is crucial for a stroke patient, as patients unable to attain professional treatment within 90 minutes of a stroke have a higher chance of suffering from brain damage or death. This makes Telestroke exceptionally useful for stroke patients, especially those living in rural areas where acute healthcare administrators are hours away. 

Telestroke programs in hospitals entail a neurologist and attending nurse with a stable internet connection that provides seamless video conferencing capabilities through a laptop, phone, desktop computer, or tablet. Other sophisticated systems integrate practice management systems (PMS) and electronic healthcare record (EHR) applications with telestroke.

Let us look further into the intricacies of Telestroke and Telestroke programs for hospitals. 

What is Telestroke?

Telestroke is also referred to as stroke telemedicine and entails technology used by professionals with advanced training in treating strokes in people who experience strokes in different geographical locations. Stroke professionals presiding Telestroke generally collaborate with a local emergency medicine doctor to facilitate diagnosis and recommend treatment procedures available in their particular communities. Communication between these doctors and patients is carried out through tablets, smartphones, robotic telepresence, internet telecommunications, digital video cameras, and other innovative technology.

Stroke telemedicine generally operates on a virtual site-and-originating system. A well-developed urban medical center is a primary medical center or a distant site. Usually, it holds certification as a comprehensive or primary stroke center. Smaller regional hospitals and other remote locations act as the originating site for Telestroke.

Telestroke generally includes a group of people working together as a team for smooth and effective functioning. This group includes vascular neurologists, radiologists, and neurosurgeons at the distant site, while program managers, clinical coordinators, emergency medicine doctors, and other helping staff are at the originating site. Additionally, informational technology staff, nurse practitioners, nurses, radiology technicians, researchers, and other staff make a significant part of a stroke telemedicine team.

Qualifications for roles of other Telestroke providers contributing to Telestroke programs in hospitals generally focus on telemedicine technology proficiency, familiarity with working in regional stroke care systems, troubleshooting, and optimal acute stroke care. Some other hospital provider roles may depend on the practice’s scope, typically including neuro-interventionalists, radiologists, and intensivists.

The originating sites may also include physician assistants (PAs), laboratory and radiology personnel, EMS personnel, advanced practice nurses/nurse practitioners, IT administrators, and other specialized personnel dedicated to supervising a seamless Telestroke program as a part of their team.  

How do Telestroke Programs for Hospitals Work?

Telestroke programs are a subcategory of Teleneurology services and allow doctors to communicate, ask questions, and observe patients in real-time to make a diagnosis and chalk out treatments. Generally, a Telestroke consultation may work in the following way:

  • A patient’s family may notice stroke symptoms and contact their primary care physician.
  • The primary physician at the remote site would initiate a web conference with a remote neurologist and the patient.
  • The neurologist would communicate with the patients and conduct a virtual online exam.
  • The neurologist would then order a suitable treatment, such as transferring the patient to a more specialized facility offering primary care. In less severe cases, they may also prescribe the administration of tPA – the only FDA-approved treatment medication for stroke patients suffering from blocked blood vessels.
  • The neurologist will continue to work with the patient’s primary care physician offline to follow up on patient care.

If an emergency medicine doctor at the originating location – or regional medical care facility – suspects an acute stroke, they may promptly activate the stroke telemedicine hotline at the distant hospital. The dedicated hotline has a group paging system and a stroke expert on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The distant site’s on-call medical professional generally responds within five minutes.

The patient may have a CT scan at the originating regional hospital, with the stroke expert at the distant site performing a real-time, live video and audio consultation. This allows the patient to communicate with a medical professional, convey their grievances, and discuss their medical history and test results. Telestroke professionals evaluate a patient and work with the primary care professional to determine the most suitable treatment. They then send these treatment recommendations to the originating hospital electronically.

Why do Telestroke Programs for Hospitals Matter?

Telestroke allows remote medical specialists to assess, diagnose, and prescribe treatments to patients exhibiting acute stroke symptoms within minimal time. In turn, this offers enhanced medical access to geographically under-resourced areas, augmented utilization rates for thrombolytic drug alteplase, and diminished disparities in acute stroke care.

Timely care for stroke patients proves life-saving in most cases, elevating patient care levels and reducing mortality rates. After the initial treatment, patients can either stay at their regional community facility or transfer to a more specialized care unit, such as a comprehensive or primary stroke center. Lowering unnecessary transfers can help patients attain quality care in their local community, with the additional benefit of proximity to their social support, peers, and family.

NeuroX offers high-quality, prompt, and affordable neurological and psychological care at your doorstep. American-board certified, and specially trained professionals at NeuroX specialize in all primary neurological disorders, including stroke, dementia, movement disorders, epilepsy, and several others. Head over to NeuroX to book an online appointment with a professional of your choice within minutes!

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