Ferrell Hospital is now able to more comprehensively treat stroke patients via telemedicine. Utilizing telestroke technology, neurologists can examine a potential stroke patient at Ferrell Hospital without being in the same room, or even the same state, as the patient.
Stroke, which is an interruption of blood flow to the brain, is an emergency and requires immediate medical attention. “Time is brain when it comes to stroke,” said Renata Lowery, RN, Emergency Room Director, Ferrell Hospital. “A patient who is treated within 3 hours of the beginning of the stroke has a much lower risk of permanent damage or death.”
Telestroke connects a patient in the Ferrell emergency department with a neurologist who can see and talk with the patient via a web cam. The neurologist can examine and speak with the patient, working closely with the ER physician, to assess the severity of the stroke. Then together the doctors, nurses, patient and patient’s family develop the best medical plan and arrange transfer to regional Primary Stroke Center if necessary.
“By the time the patient is finished with a CT scan and brought back to the room, we have a neurologist on line ready to interact with the patient through the web cam. This all takes place in minutes!” said Lowery. “Telestroke is very beneficial to our community, because the quicker the diagnosis and treatment plan is started for a stroke patient, the better the outcome is for the patient.”
Telemedicine, including telestroke, represents an effective way to provide specialized medical services in rural areas. All Ferrell Hospital Emergency Room nurses and doctors are trained and ready to use the telestroke services.
Telestroke services at Ferrell Hospital are available due to a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (details below). Deaconess Primary Stroke Center assisted Ferrell Hospital in the application and implementation process.
This project is supported by the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number G01RH27871 and title Evidence- Based TeleEmergency Network Grant Program awarded to the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health, a division of Union Hospital in Terre Haute, IN. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.