Texting can shorten ER-to-treatment time for stroke victims

A real-time text messaging system helped reduce the amount of time from admission to treatment among patients in an emergency department with acute ischemic stroke, according to research presented last week at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in San Diego.

The study, according to MedPage Today,concluded that implementation of the text messaging system resulted in reduced time between door-to-needle tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) activation, compared to a traditional paging system--65 minutes versus 86 minutes. The new system also allowed for more patients to be treated in the recommended 60-minute door-to-needle window--50 percent versus 16 percent, according to study author Molly Burnett, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco.

"The intervention consisted of on-call neurology reports of door-to-needle time to the multidisciplinary code stroke team by group text page in real-time, with a review of all cases that were more than 60 minutes by the stroke center director the next day, and bi-weekly reports of door-to-needle performance," Burnett said, according to MedPage Today.

Primary measures for the study included door-to-needle times for adults treated in the ED, and before-and-after measures of the percentage of patients treated in the 60-minute window.

The text-messaging intervention is inexpensive to implement, as it incorporates already-available technology, Burnett pointed out. The study reinforced the need for accountability and feedback, and could be especially relevant for academic training centers with high staff turnover, she added.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine who also presented at the AAN meeting found that a telestroke program based in Oregon was able to increase access to stroke care by 40 percent in regions in the Beaver state.

And another study presented at the conference concluded that incoherent text messages soon could become a vital tool in diagnosing a type of crippling stroke.

To learn more:
- read the MedPage Today article