Filed under: Telemedicine
The year 2015 was a watershed year for the advancement of telehealth services and virtual healthcare all across the country. As rapidly increasing numbers of patients and providers alike warm up to the use and benefits of new communication technologies for the treatment of everything from chronic diseases to routine visits with general practitioners, one Atlanta-based company has become the leader in virtual stroke care.
AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT) has been on the forefront of the use of telecommunication technology for years, remotely delivering live and interactive Telestroke and other Teleneurology solutions anytime, anywhere to hospitals and emergency medical centers throughout the Southeast. Last year ACT significantly expanded its telemedicine partnerships in small to mid-sized hospitals as well as enterprise level hospitals in Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.
In addition to providing patients with the most advanced neurological care regardless of their proximity to major medical centers, Telehealth is playing a key role in saving rural hospitals from closing their doors. To date, 51 rural hospitals have closed in the US since 2010, according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Southern states have been disproportionately affected by the increase in closing of rural facilities. Dr. James Kiely, Partner, ACT, says, “AcuteCare Telemedicine was created to impact the well-being of patients with severe neurological emergencies who otherwise wouldn’t have rapid access to vital expertise simply because of where they live.”
“The advancements in teleneurology not only allow us to access more patients in need of our specialized care, but improve patient outcomes overall,” says Dr. Keith Sanders, ACT Partner. “ACT’s expanding list of collaborations with partner hospitals will have a significant impact on the patients and the communities they serve.”
A new study published by the Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases indicates a practice-based telemedicine system can produce meaningful improvement in markers of telestroke efficiency in the face of rapid growth of a telestroke network. “Improving Telestroke Treatment Times in an Expanding Network of Hospitals” is authored by Keith A. Sanders, MD, James M. Kiely, MD, PhD, Matthews W. Gwynn, MD, Lisa H. Johnston, MD and Rahul Patel, BS.
As virtual health initiatives continue to move forward, new and valuable trends and telehealth technology solutions emerge, the traditional methods of delivering medical care are challenged and disrupted at medical facilities, physicians’ offices and hospitals.
Dr. Matthews Gwynn, Partner, ACT comments, “In-person visits will likely remain the mainstay for local care for those fortunate enough to be around many physicians, but when minutes count in emergencies experts can step in and make the decisions that will determine a lifetime of health instead of a lifetime of disability. Telemedicine isn’t a fad but rather a disruptive innovation that flows naturally out of technological advances and has already contributed immensely to our society’s health. It’s a perfect fit for our shrinking resources.”
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