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Improved Stroke Care for Rocky Mountain Region

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-05-05 - Metro Denver residents will have vastly improved access to stroke neurologists with the expansion of a system-wide telemedicine program. For further information pertaining to this article contact: HealthONE.

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Metro Denver residents will have vastly improved access to stroke neurologists with the expansion of a system-wide telemedicine program across HCA-HealthONE LLC acute care hospitals.

This month, HealthONE Emergency Rooms (ER) across the metro area - from Aurora to Littleton, and Thornton to Lone Tree - will have Remote Presence Robotics, the latest in stroke technology. This means patients with stroke symptoms who arrive at their local ER can be assessed almost instantaneously by neurologists specializing in stroke. As a result, emergency physicians can more quickly treat stroke patients in their ER, and reduce or eliminate long-term stroke impacts on their patients.

"Every second counts in minimizing the damage a stroke can cause to the brain - quick assessment and personalized care are key," says Dr. Chris Fanale, HealthONE Stroke Medical Director. "Having this state-of-the-art telemedicine technology puts the stroke specialist instantly in the room with a patient and ER physician. As a stroke neurologist, I can have a conversation with the patient and family, examine the patient's ability to move and speak, and even zoom in to assess pupil reactivity. We can talk to EMS and ER staff, and assess monitors and vital signs immediately. There is no facility in the region that is currently offering this level of care to stroke victims."

HealthONE's Swedish Medical Center treats nearly three times more stroke patients than any other hospital in the state and is the only Stroke Center in the Rocky Mountain region four-times certified by The Joint Commission as an advanced Primary Stroke Center.

Along with Swedish's neurosciences team, HealthONE Stroke Care Network includes:

Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital

An advanced Primary Stroke Center at The Medical Center of Aurora

The nation's first stroke-certified air transport team at HealthONE's AirLife Denver

A vast network of telemedicine cameras in 18 urban and rural sites across the state

HealthONE's North Suburban Medical Center was the first telemedicine site in north metro Denver and for several years has had immediate access to Swedish neurologists for stroke patients.

Immediate medical care of stroke can mean the difference between life and death. During a stroke, an estimated 30,000 brain cells die per second; meaning that time lost is brain lost. Evidence shows that a stroke patient's outcomes and recovery are far better the quicker you can evaluate and treat the stroke.

The InTouch Health Remote Presence® telemedicine technology includes a camera and microphone for live two-way audio and video, and a computer, on a sleek, wheeled cart that is placed in an ER room. A HealthONE Stroke Care specialist can connect a computer to the Remote Presence® unit via the Internet, and appear instantly on screen at the bedside of patients, much like video conferencing, interacting with family members and clinical staff in the room. The stroke specialist can control and zoom the camera to get closer to the patient, while accessing remote medical devices like electronic stethoscopes, otoscopes and monitoring.

While neurological assessments will be launched first, pediatric and psychiatric evaluations are scheduled to follow using the same technology.

"There are limited numbers of stroke neurologists and other specialists in our state - but this advanced technology allows experts to see patients at the bedside, from many miles away and much faster, without losing the precious time it takes to transport a patient or wait for a specialist to arrive at the ER," says HealthONE Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Bussey. "Location and resources are no longer impediments to providing the safest first-class care that HealthONE is known for."

Stroke is an EMERGENCY. Call 9-1-1 immediately if experiencing these warning signs: Act FAST

Face: Is one side of the face drooping down

Arm: Can the person raise both arms

Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing; is the person unable to speak

Time: Time is critical. Call 911 immediately.

About HealthONE - HealthONE is the largest healthcare system in the metro Denver area with 8,700 employees and 3,000 affiliated physicians. The health system is a Colorado company created in 1995 as a 50/50 joint venture between non-profit The Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado's second largest charitable foundation, and various affiliates of HCA (NYSE: HCA).

HealthONE includes: The Medical Center of Aurora and Centennial Medical Plaza; North Suburban Medical Center; Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center (P/SL) and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children; Rose Medical Center; Sky Ridge Medical Center; Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital; Swedish Medical Center and Swedish Southwest ER; 13 ambulatory surgical centers; more than 30 occupational medicine/rehabilitation, specialty, and outpatient diagnostic imaging clinics; and AirLife Denver, which provides critical care air and ground transportation for an eight-state region.

About InTouch Health - InTouch Health provides comprehensive telemedicine solutions and expertise that enable physicians to perform real-time consults with patients. Through a single portal, physicians can access a host of purpose-built, FDA-cleared telemedicine devices to provide care anywhere across the continuum: homes, clinics, ambulances, procedure rooms, EDs, ICUs, and patient wards. The InTouch Health Remote Presence telemedicine network is powered through its SureConnect® cloud-based infrastructure providing unparalleled connection quality and reliability, interoperability, workflow imaging and documentation, and services and support. Wherever access to medical expertise is limited, InTouch Health's Remote Presence telemedicine solutions can effectively extend the physician's reach to manage patient care, thereby removing critical time and distance barriers. The Company has more than 375 hospital locations on six continents enrolled in its Remote Presence network for the delivery of telemedicine services such as stroke, critical care, cardiology, trauma, pediatrics, neonatology, psychiatry, language translation, and clinical education and surgical/procedure mentoring.

Related Information:

  1. Information on Stroke Symptoms Causes and Treatment Options
  2. New Hope for Stroke Victims
  3. Childhood Stroke Causes and Information

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