In the aftermath of a stroke, time equals brain function. The faster the treatment starts, the better the odds are that a patient will survive and recover. A new North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is using advanced technology to bring the right care to NSMC patients faster.
The TeleStroke program provides NSMC with immediate access to on-call neurologists at MGH to advise on the care of individual patients. When a patient arrives at the NSMC Emergency Department with symptoms of a stroke, the TeleStroke system is activated. A high-resolution camera enables the NSMC care team – emergency physicians, intensivists, hospitalists, residents, and nurses – to connect via videoconferencing with consulting MGH neurologists, who, in real time, visualize patients and review symptoms such as weakness and pupil dilation with a high degree of accuracy. This remote examination then enables the collective care team to quickly mobilize and treat the patient with clot-reducing therapies such as tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA – which must be administered within a short window of time after the onset of a stroke.
This is a highly effective collaboration that includes regular meetings of our care team to address complex cases and examine our stroke outcomes.Joan Casper, RN, North Shore Medical Center
If additional treatments require a transfer to MGH, NSMC also has a rapid process in place. “This protocol, together with the TeleStroke service, has resulted in excellent outcomes for our patients,” says Eileen Allosso, Nurse Practitioner and NSMC Stroke and Teleneurology Program Coordinator.
With the TeleStroke system, it now takes less than five minutes for a neurologist to initiate evaluation of a stroke patient following activation. Patients and clinicians find that time-sensitive treatment is administered more quickly and hospital length of stay and readmission rates for strokes have decreased.
“This is a highly effective collaboration that includes regular meetings of our care team to address complex cases and examine our stroke outcomes,” says Joan Casper, RN, Executive Director of the NSMC Department of Medicine and Cardiology. “It enables us to advance comprehensive care for our stroke patients in a meaningful and measurable way.”