Funding an issue for hospitals interested in telestroke care

With a severe shortage of neurologists specializing in stroke care in rural communities, 64 percent of hospitals and other healthcare providers in the Northwest are either considering or are in the process of developing audio/visual telestroke programs, according to a regional survey.

In many cases, though, the limiting factor is--you guessed it--money. The survey, involving members of the Washington State Department of Health Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program, the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center and the Northwest Regional Stroke Network, found that the leading source of funding for telestroke programs is the tertiary or "hub" hospital (28 percent), followed by grants, at 21 percent, Healthcare IT News reports.

In nearly one-third of cases, on-call neurologists receive no compensation for telestroke consultations, and 60 percent of neurologists surveyed didn't even know if they billed insurance companies for such activities.

Seventy-five percent of respondents say they try to reduce the workload on stroke neurologists by sharing resources and personnel between hubs and spokes and even across state lines. But the Regional Telestroke Initiative, which released the survey, says that slightly more than a third of respondents are interested in participating in development of a regional telestroke network, and an additional 61 percent wanted more information about such a program.

For more information:
- check out this Healthcare IT News story
- view the survey results (.pdf)