Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital (EWCH) recently partnered with TeleSpecialists to launch a telestroke program that provides patients with 24/7 emergency access to neurologists who have extensive experience treating strokes.
When a patient with stroke symptoms is transported to the EWCH emergency department via ambulance, a stroke alert is issued, initiating a HIPAA-compliant video conference in which a TeleSpecialists board-certified neurologist is connected with the patient upon arrival. The secure telemedicine equipment is mounted on a mobile cart, which allows the remote neurologist to participate in all aspects of the neurological exam – from the CT scan to the physical exam and patient interview – before recommending a course for treatment.
The faster a patient receives proper treatment for a stroke, the more brain cells are saved and chances of recovery are higher. With this new program, EWCH patients may avoid some of the debilitating effects of stroke that occur due to late diagnosis or delayed administration of clot-busting drugs.
“Our partnership with TeleSpecialists provides real-time expertise with an efficient, high quality stroke program,” said EWCH Director of Operations and Associate Chief Nursing Officer Teresa Bowleg. “Patients receive the care they need incredibly fast. With a collaborative approach to optimizing our process, a teleneurologist is on-screen and ready to evaluate the patient within four minutes of a consult request.”
TeleSpecialists is a physician-owned management service organization that provides patient care via telemedicine. The organization has over 70 board-certified physicians serving over 200 hospital locations across the U.S.
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