Approximately 60 percent of stroke patients access their initial medical care within three hours of the onset of symptoms. The TeleStroke program of Cleveland Clinic is a distance health application that will address the issues surrounding time-critical therapeutic intervention.
TeleStroke uses videoconferencing and image transfer to connect Cleveland Clinic stroke specialists with stroke patients located within a 200-mile radius of Cleveland. The TeleStroke program provides 24/7 professional consults to bedside physicians at outlying hospitals for diagnosis and recommendation for treatment and/or transfer. When necessary, these consults — in coordination with existing staff and critical care transport — may result in transfers to Cleveland Clinic for a range of stroke interventions not available at most regional hospitals.
The well-coordinated operations between specialists at Cleveland Clinic and the frontline physicians at regional hospitals are key to the program’s success.Stroke is a significant medical burden, ranking as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of long-term disability, with more than 700,000 strokes in the U.S. per year. However, significant barriers slow treatment to a large number of patients with non-hemorrhagic stroke: emergency room physicians and non-stroke neurologists are reluctant to administer the proper medicine due to potential complications; and a shortage of neurologists delays acute and consultative care. Therefore, TeleStroke provides an urgent and compelling alternative to having a stroke neurologist always present at the bedside for treatment of acute strokes.
Keywords: access,coordinated care, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, stroke, telemedicine
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