AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Telestroke: Not Just About tPA

Acute stroke evaluation remains among the most frequently cited benefits of modern telemedicine technology. Known as ‘telestroke,’ the technology allows a neurologist at a remote site to reliably gather data by interviewing patients and family, performing physical examinations and reviewing brain imaging, directly impacting the course of a patient’s care. A recent article from Europe highlights that telestroke offers other benefits, tangible and intangible.

Stroke care in general at a hospital improves in several ways when telestroke consultations become available. Having a system in place to rapidly evaluate and treat stroke patients leads to faster and more accurate treatment of patients who need other brain treatments, such as clot extraction and neurosurgical intervention. Patients with stroke mimics can also be more rapidly treated. Telestroke leads to fewer unnecessary patient transfers, saving valuable time and money.

In stroke, care delayed is care denied. Getting stroke patients the immediate care they need at a local hospital rather than transferring them out leads to better outcomes and happier patients.

As hospital stroke volume increases, the staff gains experience and expertise in treating stroke cases. Stroke order sets provide a checklist to ensure that quality measures are being followed, and with increased experience comes increased use of such standards, which have been shown to improve stroke care. Even obstacles to physician staffing are addressed with telestroke experts on call. Doctors, as much as patients, prefer hospitals providing state of the art care.

In the hospitals we serve, the value of telestroke coverage resonates from the board room to the triage room. This is a technology whose time has come.