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Premier Health Rolls Out Telemedicine To aid Stroke Victims

(Dayton, OH) April 2 - Premier Health is introducing a Telemedicine Stroke Network across its four hospitals to treat patients who are exhibiting signs of a stroke. Without losing critical time a stroke patient arriving at a Premier Hospital emergency department can be examined via a computer linked to one of six on-call stroke specialists practicing at one of the system’s four hospitals any time of the day or night.  The telemedicine system is already in place at Atrium Medical Center and is being introduced today at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Telemedicine Stroke Network activation will occur in May at Miami Valley Hospital locations in Dayton, Centerville and Jamestown. Upper Valley Medical Center’s rollout is scheduled for summer. The Premier Health hospitals are the first in the area to introduce telemedicine to treat stroke patients.

Premier has contracted with REACH Interactive Clinical Access to bring telemedicine to its patients. The REACH system is a rolling cart outfitted with a computer, video monitor, camera and audio system. When a stroke patient arrives at the emergency department, the system is wheeled to the patient’s bedside. A staff member from the emergency department contacts the remote on-call stroke specialist from one of the Premier hospitals. The specialists logs onto a computer and then can have two-way audio and video communication with, the ED physician, the patient and family members. The specialists can “see” the patient, ask questions and view CT scans - all in real-time - to help assess the patient’s condition and help the ED physician determine if the patient is a candidate for acute stroke therapy.

This technology dramatically reduces the three-hour window for stroke assessment and action. Neurologists must assess, diagnose and treat a stroke patient within three hours of the beginning signs of a stroke for clot dissolving medication to be effective. The three-hour window is also important to minimize damage to the brain.

Dr. Bryan Ludwig, neurointerventional specialists at Miami Valley Hospital who will be one of the physicians taking on-call for the telemedicine program says the benefit this technology brings to patients is tremendous.  “Telemedicine enables physicians specifically trained in acute stroke care to be electronically transported to the patient’s bedside instantly, he says.  He adds, “Such timely interactions with the family, ER physician and most importantly, the patient, allow for a thorough and rapid patient evaluation”.

In addition to Dr. Ludwig, the on-call team includes Ahmed Fathy, MD, Bradley Jacobs, MD, Jacob Kitchener, MD, John Terry, MD, and Robb Snider, MD.

Physicians believe that telemedicine will result in faster delivery of care which will improve patient outcomes. The possibilities for telemedicine are endless and Premier Hospitals could use the program in other areas such as cardiology in the future.

Learn more about Atrium's Stroke Services.