Telehealth helps OhioHealth reach remote stroke patients

For stroke victims, early treatment is paramount, but oftentimes, care is hard to find for those living in rural and remote areas.To that end, healthcare organizations are using telemedicine to change that.

The Ohio Health Stroke Network is using a "hub-and-spoke" method to reach out to those areas. OhioHealth is using the network to connect to smaller hospitals with formal agreements for telemedicine consultation, according to a Healthcare Informatics article.

This set up allows for more efficiency in stroke care and lessens the need for a patient to transfer somewhere where they can receive more specialized care, according to the article.

The partner hospitals are able to provide care to patients on-site, but also are able to use a mobile cart to connect with OhioHealth's emergency stroke team, Steve Hickenbottom, the system business relationship manager at OhioHealth Stroke Network, tells Healthcare Informatics.

OhioHealth is not the only healthcare system using the hub-and-spoke network for telestroke care.

Penn State Milton S. Hershey Center is also using the system in a similar way to provide care to rural patients in central Pennsylvania. With telemedicine and urgent evaluations, they are able to provide time-based treatments promptly, neurologist Raymond Reichwein told FierceHealthIT earlier this year.

And at Mayo Clinic, providers are using smartphones to run teleradiology applications into a real-world hub and spoke telestroke network. In a study, the facility assessed the level of agreement of brain CT scan interpretation in a telestroke network between hub vascular neurologists using mobile apps.

In addition to remote stroke care, OhioHealth also uses telemedicine to care for patients in the intensive care unit. Nurses at the hospital use monitors to watch over their patients in all of the health systems facilities, according to the article.

The technology can even be accessed away from the hospital, Hickenbottom adds. Stroke neurologists have laptops with 4G cards that allow them to log into the system from anywhere.

Telestroke units helped increase the number of rural patients treated and deliver treatment faster, according to a 10-year evaluation published this past summer in the journal Stroke.

To learn more:
- read the article