Telestroke enables world-class stroke care wherever patients may be

By Opeolu Adeoye, MD

Telehealth, or connecting remotely to patients, helps us to quickly bring remote experts to a patient—wherever that patient is. In an emergency situation, such as when a patient has a stroke, that connection can make all the difference in getting to a positive outcome for that patient.

As a Comprehensive Stroke Center, Level 1 Trauma Center, Level IV Epilepsy Center, among others, UC Medical Center is equipped with the many and varied specialty physicians needed for the gamut of emergency situations. Often, however, the challenge of emergency (and non-emergency) situations is that patients can be far removed from these expert physicians who can provide specialty care at a moment’s notice. So, it may take significant time for the expert to travel to the patient or for the patient to get to the expert. These types of issues can lead to delays in care and poor patient outcomes.

The need for better outcomes in stroke care is what drove our telestroke program, an initiative aimed at improving stroke care in remote regions. Through this program, physicians specializing in stroke care can remotely access rural hospitals’ emergency departments and help to guide the care of patients presenting with stroke symptoms. While the program does not replace the need for an in-person visit, it vastly improves the access for patients and provides a needed supplement where specialty care is not readily available. This enhanced access to care means faster treatment for stroke patients, and in the case of stroke, timing is everything in improving outcomes.

In the future, there are significant opportunities to grow telehealth and further enhance patient care. As a leader in stroke care, UC Health is on the forefront of providing specialty care not only to our community, but to the region at large through telestroke. With increased technological capabilities, both patients and providers can become more comfortable using telehealth technology.

By reaching patients who would otherwise not receive the care that they need in a timely fashion, we can improve outcomes throughout our region, thereby advancing our purpose of advancing healing and reducing suffering.

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