Franciscan Health Rensselaer Implements New Technology with Telehealth
RENSSELAER, Indiana - Franciscan Health Rensselaer now has the ability to treat stroke patients using a two-way video connection. The technology, called telestroke, is the first of its kind in the area to be used for this purpose. Telestroke enables patients the access to the expertise of a neurologist quickly and can improve recovery chances. Telestroke and telemedicine went live at Franciscan Health Rensselaer on Dec. 21, 2017.
"Telemedicine is an up-and-coming trend that uses video technology to exchange medical information from one geographic site to another," says Carol Bailey, stroke coordinate for Franciscan Health. "Telestroke gives medical expertise to communities such as Rensselaer that don't have a primary stroke center or a full-time neurologist."
How Does It Work?
When a patient comes in to the Emergency Department at Franciscan Health Rensselaer with stroke symptoms a nurse will call a stroke alert and call a neurologist. The patient undergoes medical testing, a CT scan and blood work, and the Telestroke robot is brought into the patient's room and parked at the foot of the bed.
The neurologist then signs into the machine from their office and can view, assess and talk with the patient or the family.
If the neurologist thinks the patient is a candidate for tPA, a medication used to dissolve blood clots, consent is requested from the patient or family and then administered by the ED staff, who are trained in its use. After tPA is administered, the patient is closely monitored in the Intensive Care Unit.
"Stroke is very time sensitive," Bailey states. "With a stroke the brain ages 3.6 years each hour without treatment. Coming in to the Emergency Department quickly if stroke symptoms are present is so important."