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Telestroke (Stroke Telemedicine)

What is telestroke?

Telestroke, also known as stroke telemedicine or telestroke medicine, allows healthcare providers with advanced training in treating strokes to treat remote patients. They do so through technology and by working with local emergency physicians.

The technology used within telestroke includes internet telecommunications, digital cameras, tablets, and smartphones. In some cases, they may use robotic telepresence, allowing the stroke expert to provide their expertise through a robot.

Telestroke revolves around teamwork at both the distant site, where the stroke experts are located, and the originating site, where the patient is. The distant site team members often include a clinical coordinator, program manager, neurosurgeons, vascular neurologists, and radiologists. They work with the team at the originating site, which can consist of emergency physicians, radiology technicians, researchers, informational technology staff, and nurses.

How does telestroke improve healthcare?

With telestroke, the entire team works together to provide quality stroke care at the patient’s original location, lessening their need to be transferred to another medical center. This is beneficial for many regional and rural hospitals, as they often do not have neurologists on call to provide adequate stroke care.

Stroke care relies on prompt diagnosis and treatment, and telestroke services allow these facilities to bring stroke care quickly to their patients. This allows for treatments, such as clot-dissolving therapies, to be delivered in time to reduce the odds of stroke-related disability.