AVH Establishes Stroke Telemedicine Program
Allegheny Valley Hospital recently implemented a stroke telemedicine program that gives AVH patients access to the highly skilled stroke experts at Allegheny General Hospital without leaving AVH.
A team of stroke-trained neurologists from AGH’s Comprehensive Stroke Center are now available around the clock at AVH for telemedicine consultations. A secure video monitoring system provides a real-time connection between AVH’s Emergency Department staff and AGH’s neurologists and endovascular neurosurgeons.
Patients experiencing a stroke must be rapidly assessed by both emergency medicine physicians and neurologists. Prompt treatment can save brain function and reduce stroke-related disability. According to data collected by the American Heart Association, the best care is delivered when a stroke-trained neurologist is available at the patient’s bedside or via telemedicine.
“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and more common in the elderly,” says Ashis H. Tayal, MD, medical director, Comprehensive Stroke Center, AGH, and Telemedicine for Stroke Program, AVH. “As the U.S. population ages, stroke cases are likely to increase. The primary advantage of telemedicine is placing expertise at the bedside and increasing patient access to the best care. Our telemedicine capability reduces the need for patient transfer for evaluation, so stroke care can be delivered promptly after a thorough evaluation by two physicians.”
“The telemedicine for stroke program enhances the high level of care already provided in AVH’s Emergency Department,” said Jerry Taylor, MD, director, Emergency Services, AVH. “When evaluating and treating stroke symptoms, time lost is brain tissue lost.”
According to Ned Laubacher, AVH president and CEO, having telemedicine access to the expertise available at AGH expedites stroke intervention and care for patients in the community. “AGH’s team of stroke-trained neurologists is working together with our emergency medicine team to best help patients in the valley. This is a significant advancement in the level of care that we are now able to provide patients experiencing stroke symptoms.”
National research has shown that patients treated at Joint Commission-certified stroke centers such as that at AGH receive the most sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic treatments more quickly and with better results than those treated elsewhere.
AVH’s first responders have been educated to recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke and to begin initial treatment in the field before the patient’s arrival in the Emergency Department. Once at the hospital, AVH’s emergency physicians, nurses and technicians, utilize standards of care as outlined by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association to further evaluate the patient through examination and diagnostic testing.