While the physicians at Martha's Vineyard Hospital knew that stroke drug tPA was a good choice, they hadn't been giving it to their patients, largely because the tiny community didn't have access to the neurological specialists it needed to administer it properly. Now, however, the hospital has turned things around using telemedicine, spending a miniscule fraction of what they'd need to have full-time access to a neurologist, neuroradiologist and a neurosurgeon.
TeleStroke, a program offered by Boston teaching hospitals Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, costs only $10,000 a year, while the neurologists would have cost the hospital an unreachable half-a-million dollars per year or more. The program links Martha's Vineyard Hospital with the two teaching hospitals using videoconferencing and image sharing. The remote neurologists examine patients from Boston, relying on CT scans and symptoms, then rule on whether the ED physician should dose the patient with tPA.
To find out more about TeleStroke:
- read this New York Times piece
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