Telemedicine Stroke Consultation Service
When a patient is having a stroke, the Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth Emergency Department has the ability to consult with neurologists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in real time through an Internet connection.
The Telemedicine Stroke Consultation services uses a small camera attached to a computer whereby MGH neurologists can see the patient and do a neurological assessment. They can evaluate the patient’s heat CT scan via computer. If the patients meets all the criteria for the drug Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), they will provide the authorization to proceed. A printout of the consultation will be included in the patient’s medical record.
The drug tPA dissolves blood clots, thus improving survival and reducing or eliminating many of the side effects and lengthy recovery times for stroke survivors. This drug cannot be used on patients who have bleeding in their brain, so the assessment is crucial. Time is also a factor, as tPA must be administered within a three-hour window from the onset of symptoms. The best outcomes occur when the drug is administered within 90 minutes of onset. There is also an tremendous need for rapid assessment since many patients do not recognize that they are having a stroke and delay getting to the hospital.
The Telemedicine Stroke Consultation service saves valuable time because the patient can stay at Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth at the critical assessment stage rather than being transferred to a Boston hospital. Through clear pictures via Internet connection, the specialist is brought to the patient instead of the reverse scenario.