AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


SAMC Recognized For Outstanding Stroke Care

The Southern Alabama Medical Center (SAMC’s) Stroke Care Network was recently named “Partner of Year” at the Alabama Rural Stroke Award Health and Telehealth Summit.  The award was presented by the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth (APT) during the October summit in Prattville. Jason DeLeon, MD, Emergency Medicine; Cecilia Land, division director SAMC Rehabilitation Services and Levonne Outlaw, SAMC Stroke Network Coordinator accepted the award.

“This is an award that we give out to the partner who we feel has done the most outstanding job when it comes to not only using, but advancing telemedicine,” said Lloyd Sirmons, executive director of APT.  “SAMC has done a great job, not only building their program, but advancing telemedicine in the state of Alabama.”

AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), the Southeast region’s largest practice based telemedicine provider, joined in collaboration with SAMC earlier this year to remotely diagnose and treat acute care neurological patients and to offer advanced cost-effective solutions that deliver improved stroke patient outcomes throughout the expanded SAMC Network of participating hospitals.  The SAMC Stroke Care Network ensures that patients in surrounding rural communities have access to the most experienced stroke care available. “SAMC sets the standard in the state when it comes to providing stroke care in rural areas,” said Dr. DeLeon.

On hand to present the award were Matthews Gwynn, MD, Acute Care Telemedicine, SAMC TeleNeurology Providers; Lloyd Sirmons, Alabama Partnership for Telehealth; Ron Sparks, Alabama Department of Rural Development and David White, Alabama Governor’s Office.



Leading Providers of Telemedicine Technology Present at Summit

The Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) and the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth (APT) held the 2nd Annual Alabama Rural Health & Telehealth Summit on October 16th thru the 17th in Prattville, Alabama.  The conference provided an excellent opportunity to learn about the current uses and capabilities of telehealth and telemedicine and included updated information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more specific information on the Health Insurance Exchange program, Navigator program, and Accountable Care Organization program.

Cecilia Land, Director of Rehab Services, presented a session titled, “Reaching Out to Alabama with Telestroke Services.”  Land discussed the stroke mortality rates in Alabama, and more specifically stroke mortality in the counties that fall inside the Southeastern Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) footprint and its desire to help bring down those rates in the counties surrounding the SAMC Telestroke Hub and their partner spokes in southeastern Alabama.

Levonne Outlaw, SAMC Stroke Network Coordinator, discussed education and training of the individual hospital staffs at the spokes. Initial training proved to be very successful and adoption of the telemedicine and telestroke platforms was well received by the staffs. The initial concern for a potentially long learning curve on implementation was not realized.

Dr. Matt Gwynn, Acute Care Telemedicine, the leading practice-based provider of Telemedicine services in the southeast, discussed the national statistics on stroke and their dramatic impact on quality of life of survivors.  His discussion centered on the unique nature of stroke and how telemedicine can best be implemented to treat this disease. “Stroke is a perfect fit for demonstrating the life saving and life enhancing benefits of telemedicine, given that telemedicine can reduce the time to treat patients in the narrow, 3-hour window, which is so critical to stroke victims”, said Dr. Gwynn.  He went on to share a specific case of a 46-year old female stroke patient at Dale Medical Center and how she had benefited from SAMC’s new telemedicine presence.  Dale Med Center had been live with telestroke not more than a week, and the patient presented into the ER with stroke symptoms, was treated with the clot-busting drug tPA and discharged within 48 hours with minimal long-term neurological damage.

Other key topics were presented by: Gary Capistrant, Senior Director of Public Policy for the American Telemedicine Association and panelists from Auburn University, University of Alabama and Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine.  Updates were presented on the Affordable Care Act and its effects on telemedicine throughout the United States.



Advancing Availability and Quality of Stroke Care to the Underserved

The recent collaboration between AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), the leading practice-based provider of Telemedicine services for hospitals in the southeast United States, and the Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) is having its desired effect for SAMC patients, providing once unavailable, advanced life saving treatments to stroke patients. The Stroke Care Network, established in Dothan, Ala., in collaboration with ACT, the Southeastern Alabama Medical Center Foundation and the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth provides stroke services for a 240-square-mile swath and includes five “spoke” hospitals located throughout southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.  The efforts have proven to be critical for stroke victim patients who were once underserved by the latest in life-saving technology.

The adoption and expansion of Telestroke, other acute Teleneurology support and Telemedicine applications has a significant beneficial impact for healthcare organizations, clinicians and patients alike.  Timely access to specialty Neurological consultations via Telemedicine, help many patients avoid the debilitating effects of strokes and other Neurological emergencies due to late diagnosis or delayed administration of “clot-busting” drugs.

Dr. Gwynn, ACT, Director and Founder of the Stroke Center of Northside Hospital and recent Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine, says, “The new telemedicine health care model is an excellent vehicle to advance the availability and quality of telestroke care to patients who remain underserved throughout the region and all around the country.” In response to their success AcuteCare Telemedicine is making an aggressive push to help other hospitals and networks that don’t have immediate access to neurologists and other specialties.

Dr. Keith A. Sanders from AcuteCare Telemedicine and Director and Founder of the Stroke Center of St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta, says, “We are planning on extending our successful telemedicine platform to an additional two hospitals before the end of 2013 and to an additional 3 hospitals during the first quarter of 2014 as more hospitals and health networks recognize the benefits of sharing specialist services without having to house them on-site.”



The 2nd Annual Alabama Rural Health & TeleHealth Summit

The Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) and the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth (APT) will be sponsoring the 2nd Annual Alabama Rural Health & Telehealth Summit on October 16th thru the 17th in Prattville, Alabama.  The conference provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the current uses and capabilities of telehealth and telemedicine and will include updated information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more specific information on the Health Insurance Exchange program, Navigator program, and Accountable Care Organization program.  Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is scheduled to present the opening address.

Dr. Matt Gwynn, Acute Care Telemedicine, the leading practice-based provider of Telemedicine services in the southeast, will be joined by Levonne Outlaw, Southeastern Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) Stroke Network Coordinator, Dr. Jason Deleon,  SAMC Emergency Medicine physician and Cecilia Land, Director of Rehab Services, in presenting a session titled, “Reaching Out to Alabama with Telestroke Services.”  Dr. Gwynn will review recent patient success stories related to ACT telestroke services, the successful working relationship with SAMC and the future of the telestroke network. The SAMC Network currently includes SAMC and five “spoke” hospitals with plans to expand to additional network partners throughout the Florida Panhandle and rural southwest Georgia.

Featured speakers for the Summit include Davis Lee, National Rural Health Association (HRHA), Martin Rice, specialist in Electronic Health Record implementation and Gary Capistrant, Senior Director, Public Policy at the American Telemedicine Association.

Alabama Partnership for TeleHealth, (APT), is a charitable nonprofit corporation focused on increasing access to healthcare through the innovative use of technology and dedicated to providing an opportunity for TeleHealth services to expand and provide greater access to healthcare to all of Alabama.

The Alabama Rural Health Association (ARHA) is focused on the preservation and enhancement of health to rural citizens in all 67 counties of Alabama. The Summit partners share a common belief that Telehealth holds an exciting promise for providing increased access to quality care for rural Alabama and that TeleHealth is changing the way we think about health and the health care delivery model.

The Summit provides a great opportunity for health care providers to join together in collaboration to improve the health care system.    The Alabama Rural Health & Telehealth Summit 2013 will be held at the Marriott-Legends at Capitol Hill, 2500 Legends Circle, Prattville, Alabama. To find out more about exhibiting or attending the conference visit www.alabamatelehealth.com.



Positive Patient Outcome Advances the Telemedicine Delivery Model

Recently a team of researchers from UCLA completed a major study on the use of tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, on stroke victims within 4.5 hours after the stroke occurs. That study of more than 50,000 stroke patients, as reported in a recent issue of JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, confirms that the sooner tPA is administered, the better chance of recovery.  In response to the study, AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), an Atlanta-based company that’s billed as the largest practice-based provider of teleneurology is making an aggressive push to help smaller hospitals and networks that don’t have immediate access to neurologists.

Their efforts have proven to be life saving for one Ozark, Alabama resident and recent stroke victim.  The collaboration between ACT and the Southeast Alabama Medical Center (SAMC) is having its desired effect for SAMC patients, providing once unavailable, advanced life saving treatments to stroke patients. The Stroke Care Network, established in Dothan, Ala., in collaboration with ACT, the Southeastern Alabama Medical Center Foundation and the Alabama Partnership for Telehealth provides stroke services for a 240-square-mile swath that includes southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.

The collaboration was initiated when Cecilia Land, SAMC’s division director for rehabilitation services discovered an increase in the areas mortality and morbidity due to stroke. “We recognized an immediate need to establish a stroke care network, providing patients with access to 24×7 teleneurology,” said Land.  SAMC officials hope to add more “spokes” to the network, in the form of hospitals and clinics, and also want to use the network to educate communities on the importance of wellness and identifying precursors to a stroke.  Dr. Keith A. Sanders from AcuteCare Telemedicine hopes to extend ACT’s telemedicine platform to other specialties, such as telepsychology, and he expects more hospitals and health networks will buy into the system as executives see the benefits of sharing specialist services without having to house them on-site.

This most recent life-saving patient outcome from the collaboration between ACT and SAMC is proof that the new telemedicine health care model is an excellent vehicle to advancing the availability and quality of telestroke care to SAMC patients and to underserved patients all around the country.



ACT Collaborates with Southeastern Medical Center on Telestroke Network

AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), the Southeast region’s largest practice based telemedicine provider, participated at Southeastern Alabama Medical Center’s (SAMC) press conference, announcing SAMC’s new stroke care network.

SAMC’s service area covers over 60 miles in each direction.  With technology in place, SAMC looked at possible resources to staff the new 24X7 model.  Neurologists on staff at SAMC are responsible for patients after admittance to the hospital, and often following acute symptoms or neurological events.  To be able to provide 24X7 coverage would be impossible. SAMC selected AcuteCare Telemedicine as its clinical service provider.

With this hub-spoke stroke care model, SAMC will be able to add hospitals to its network, expanding coverage across its communities.  Patients have already started to receive care, including tPA.  The initial results show improved patient outcomes.   The goal of the stroke care network is to educate communities on the importance of wellness, to identify signs before a stroke and generate awareness for the new services offerings SAMC can provide.

“Telemedicine is such a new technology for our population. We had concerns about patient adoption and comfort with being diagnosed remotely,” comments Ceclia Land, Division Director, Rehabilitation Services, SAMC.  “However, ACT integrated seamlessly into our processes, working alongside our team, to insure only the highest level of care to our patients. All of the doctors at ACT have an incredible bedside manner and are engaging.  They have become an integral part of our team.”

ACT will be on hand to diagnose and treat acute care patients. ACT offers cost-effective solutions that deliver complete on-call coverage, improve patient outcomes that adhere to HIPAA / HITECH requirements and establish a sustainable financial model for patient care.  The ACT Team of Neurological specialists are in the business of creating relationships that will serve as the foundation for improving healthcare for communities across the Southeast and Nationwide.

“SAMC has really established the new standard of care, expanding access to specialty care in underserved communities,” comments Dr. Gwynn, CEO, Partner, ACT.  “We look forward to our continued involvement with SAMC and its patients.  We have the potential to improve the statistics for residents across these communities in the hopes of saving lives lost due to stroke.  If diagnosed in time, we are able to administer tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) decreasing patient deficits after the stroke.”