Ochsner Health System Continues to Expand Telestroke Network

REACH Call’s Telemedicine Solution Enables Ochsner Medical Center to Provide Live, Off-Site Stroke Consults to 10 Hospitals in Southeast Louisiana

AUGUSTA, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- REACH Call Inc., a leading provider of telemedicine solutions, announced that Ochsner Health System, a REACH customer since August 2009, has expanded its telestroke network to serve 10 urban, suburban and rural hospitals across southeast Louisiana.

These facilities, which previously had limited or no access to specialized acute care, are reporting noticeable improvements in the treatment of stroke. REACH’s clinically rich platform enables neurologists from Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans to conduct live stroke consults at underserved Ochsner and non-Ochsner hospitals.

“Ochsner Health System is a great example of how a telestroke network can serve suburban and urban hospitals effectively,” said Ken Rardin, president and CEO of REACH. “It is not only rural and remote hospitals that are underserved. Many hospitals in cities or near cities don’t have a neurologist on staff. Our solution can bridge that gap and allow these hospitals to treat stroke patients at a reasonable cost and with favorable outcomes.”

Ochsner Medical Center, a primary stroke center, acts as the stroke network’s hub for the surrounding region. The medical center utilizes two vascular neurologists to conduct off-site consults 24/7. In the case of stroke, the third leading cause of death in the U.S., timely access to a neurologist who can diagnose and treat the condition can stave off brain damage, save lives, improve patient care and reduce long-term health care costs. Without access to a neurologist, facilities usually need to transfer patients to hospitals that provide a higher level of care.

Hospitals in the Ochsner telestroke network have seen a reduction in patient transfers and an increase in patients getting tPA, a clot-busting medication used to treat ischemic stroke. TPA is time-critical and needs to be administered to qualified stroke patients within three hours of the onset of symptoms. By reducing the time it takes to be seen by a neurologist, telemedicine increases the likelihood of qualified patients receiving tPA treatment within the time window and improves the patient’s chances for a positive outcome.

“In some hospitals, patient transfers to other facilities have gone down from 100 percent to 35 percent,” said Liz Allen, stroke coordinator at Ochsner Medical Center. “TPA utilization rates grew from less than 1 percent to more than 36 percent. We have seen a significant increase in the number of patients who are being screened and evaluated.”

St. Charles Parish Hospital, in Luling, La., 20 minutes from New Orleans, has conducted an average of two to three stroke consults a month since joining the telestroke network in January. “We are having improved patient outcomes and are able to retain close to home those patients who do not require transfer to tertiary facilities,” said Karen Guillot, the hospital’s chief operating officer.

Three more facilities will join the Ochsner telestroke network over the next nine months. By 2012, Ochsner, which has partnered with the American Heart Association and the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals to grow the network, will have a total of 16 sites in its network.

St. James Parish Hospital in suburban Lutcher, La., which was transferring stroke patients to a facility 30 to 45 minutes away before joining Ochsner’s network in October, has already seen improved outcomes in its stroke patients. CEO Mary Ellen Pratt said that she is excited about REACH’s Web-enabled consults and decision-support system, with integrated audio and video capabilities.

“You can see the neurologist and he can see the emergency room doctor and the patient,” Pratt said. “The neurologist is able to do a visual assessment as well as review the diagnostic information. The patient is able to interact with all parties. It’s really cool.”

About Ochsner Health System

Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and over 38 health centers in Louisiana. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 15 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a “Best Hospital” across seven specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 12,000 employees, over 750 physicians in 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 300 clinical research trials annually.

For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About REACH Call

Founded in 2006, REACH is a leading high-tech provider of telemedicine solutions. REACH provides a full suite of telemedicine technology and services dedicated to eliminating the geographical challenge associated with access to specialized health care, bringing time-critical emergency care for diseases such as stroke close to home. REACH offers an easy-to-implement Software as a Service platform for secure, clinically rich teleconsults, with instant documentation and reporting. REACH account teams work in partnership with customers to design, launch and grow their telemedicine programs. REACH serves hospitals in premier health care systems such as HCA, Ascension Health, OhioHealth and Ochsner Health System.

For more information on REACH Call, visit www.reachcall.com.


Donna Rhines, 678-392-1434
Director of Marketing
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