A group of 21 Michigan hospitals are working to improve stroke treatment by establishing a robot-driven telemedicine network. St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Oakland, one of the state's 13 certified primary stroke centers, spent $2.5 million to set up its new telemedicine effort, dubbed the Michigan Stroke Network. Under the program, which will cost SJMH $2 million per year, the hospital will make its on-call neurologists available 24/7 to treat remote patients at participating hospitals. Participating hospitals, the majority of which are part of Novi, Mich.-based Trinity Health, pay no fee to be involved.
To examine patients, specialists will connect over the Net using a laptop. The remote hospitals are using mobile robots as on-site stand-ins for the neurologists, allowing the specialists to "move" and examine the patient from multiple angles. Planners hope that with the help of these remote consultations, fewer patients will have to make the stressful and dangerous trip to SJMH from elsewhere in the state.