TeleStroke: A Leading-edge Stroke Program
What is TeleStroke?
Each year in the United States, about 800,000 people have a stroke. During a stroke, blood flow to the brain is cut off, which deprives the brain of oxygen and destroys brain cells. The key to surviving a stroke and minimizing damage is to recognize early warning signs and start immediate medical treatment.
To help with that critical timing and elevate the level of care our patients receive, Baptist embraces TeleStroke technology. A form of telemedicine, TeleStroke uses video to connect patients with a board-certified vascular neurologist who can assess their symptoms and recommend a plan of care to the patient’s clinical team. The service is available 24/7.
Kim Hallum-Stewart, Baptist’s system administrator for neurosciences, said TeleStroke makes world-class neurological care more accessible to patients. “TeleStroke brings trained vascular neurologists to patients across the Mid-South—from urban communities to rural populations,” said Hallum-Stewart.
How does TeleStroke work?
In 2015, Baptist began using Patronus Neurology, a TeleStroke service that provides stroke consultation with neurologists who assist emergency department physicians, nurses and specialists with stroke assessment and treatment.
Once patients exhibit stroke-like symptoms, they are examined and a consult request is sent to Patronus Neurology. A TeleStroke cart containing video and audio equipment is wheeled into the patient’s room.
“Within four minutes, Patronus Neurology provides a neurologist to evaluate the patient and recommend treatment,” said Hallum-Stewart.
One of the primary reasons for Baptist’s ongoing success with TeleStroke is that dedicated, skilled neurologists are available for 24/7 videoconferencing at 10 hospitals in the Baptist Memorial Health Care system.
“The stroke physicians on the TeleStroke cart are no different in training and credentials than the Baptist team in the room,” said Hallum-Stewart.
During the evaluation, TeleStroke makes it easy for neurologists to communicate with patients, their families and Baptist physicians. Typically, Hallum-Stewart said, neurologists discuss care options and next steps with physicians and patients, and determine if they will stay at their local facility or be transferred to a Stroke Center for a higher level of care.
The Future of TeleStroke at Baptist
Looking to the future, Baptist aims to expand TeleStroke across all facilities. By providing patients with immediate access to specialized care, telemedicine at Baptist will continue to improve treatment time, save lives and minimize the effects of stroke.
Watch the video below to learn more about how Baptist uses TeleStroke to deliver quicker care to patients who may be experiencing a stroke or other neurological disorders.