TeleStroke: Using Technology to Facilitate Care
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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