Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and causes more than 150,000 deaths every year. It is estimated by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that stroke alone costs a substantial monetary burden to society: $30 billion in costs and lost productivity. The alarming fact is that a stroke patient does not suffer from this ailment just once: approximately 1 in every 4 stroke victims experiences more than one stroke in their lifetime.
Related: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Stroke Risk
Unlike cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and other such health complications, stroke can inflict profound disabilities or even kill you within minutes. The number of stroke victims is likely to increase as the baby boomer generation continues to age, and thus the expenditure and mortality rate is likely to increase as well. Diagnosing and providing immediate medical attention can prove life-saving for stroke patients, and thus Telestroke helps reduce the mortality rate by several notches.
This writing aims to delve into what Telestroke is, why it is crucial to saving lives, and how this technology helps stroke patients. Let’s get started!
What is Telestroke Technology?
Telestroke is also known as stroke telemedicine and is administered by specialized professionals with extensive training in dealing with strokes. These medical professionals use advanced technology to treat patients in other geographical locations and work in collaboration with the patient’s local emergency medicine doctors to recommend the diagnosis, chalk out treatment plans, and give emergency medical aid that can be administered in their locality.
These specialized medical professionals and local doctors communicate with patients through internet telecommunications, digital video cameras, smartphones, robotic telepresence, and other such communicative technology. Stroke telemedicine technology usually operates on a virtual and distant site-and-originating site system.
A substantial urban medical care center, typically classified as a comprehensive or primary stroke care center, serves as the primary medical center or the distant site. Smaller regional hospitals or medical care centers in remote locations usually serve as the originating site.
In Telestroke medicine, people typically work as a whole and include a team of vascular neurologists, neurosurgeons, clinical coordinators, program managers, and radiologists at the distant site, and emergency medical doctors and other supporting staff at the originating site. Other professionals such as information technology staff, nurses, radiology technicians, nurse practitioners, and other helping staff are all crucial members of the Telestroke team.
Why do we need Remote Telestroke Medicine?
Stroke victims in the past had to travel to a medical specialist to get the required medical aid. This proved especially difficult for patients who resided in remote or rural areas, as every second and minute counts when experiencing a stroke.
Intravenously delivered clot-dissolving therapies must be administered within four and a half-hour after a patient experiences stroke symptoms for the treatment to be effective. Surgical procedures to remove blood clots must be delivered within 24 hours of stroke symptoms. However, they necessitate a patient to move from the originating site to the distant site.
Treatment delays increase the chances of a patient suffering from a stroke-related disability, including paralysis or worse. Stroke telemedicine ensures that patients receive an adequate diagnosis with a certified and experienced medical professional, irrespective of their geographical location.
This specialized medical innovation allows more than just conversation over a simple video or voice call: it allows the capacity to accumulate technical medical data promptly to better interact with patients.
What are the Basics of a Telestroke System?
The primary arrangement of a Telestroke system initiates its processing by establishing an efficient and secure method of audio/visual communication that connects a patient or faculty to the specialized neurologist.
A functional Telestroke program is equipped with a high-speed and reliable internet connection as its foundation, capable of handling the kind of real-time, high-resolution video conferencing solutions that allow nursing staff, neurologists, and patients to communicate seamlessly, without any interruption.
The fundamental reason behind implementing a Telestroke system is to allow the attending neurologist to evaluate the patient and expedite diagnosis and treatment administration remotely. Attending neurologists typically assess the severity of a patient’s symptoms, remotely view their CT scan, observe motor function and skills, and other similar processes.
Since there is only a three-hour window for administering treatment after a stroke, time is crucial for stroke patients. The chances of patient recovery and reversible brain damage plummet drastically after the three-hour window expires.
One study showed that stroke victims who were administered anti-clot medicines within the first ninety minutes of their episode showed nearly a 250% better chance of recovery after three months than those who did not receive this treatment within the prescribed time. This makes an adequately equipped Telestroke system that works seamlessly extremely crucial.
Specialized Technology Involved in Telestroke
A Telestroke system can only impart its benefits if technological tools support it. Let us look at some of the technologically driven tools that have been metamorphosing the world of stroke care:
Telemedicine or Telestroke carts are mobile communication units equipped with all the tools required by neurologists to administer remote patient care, including high-resolution cameras, multiple viewing screens, microphones, internet capability, and much more.
Telehealth software is fundamentally what makes the use of telehealth hardware, or telemedicine carts, possible. Neurologists can virtually connect with a telemedicine cart through HIPAA compliant and secure software and apps that allow easy use of laptops, computers, or mobile devices to observe, evaluate, and communicate with patients. Neurologists can also view CT scans, observe health reports, and give instructions to nursing staff.
Hardware Involved in Telestroke Technology
Despite the crucial significance of Telestroke software, these specialized services are not possible without Telestroke hardware, some of which are mentioned ahead:
A Computerized Tomography scanner collects patient health information using X-rays from various angles and creates an in-depth medical image. The stroke telemedicine duty neurologist receives this information to complete their assessment quickly and give a diagnosis. However, since CT scanners are available in small amounts, other kinds of hardware technology are required to determine whether a patient needs such a scan.
Video and audio
Remote doctors require adequate video and audio aid to complete their diagnosis and evaluate a patient. Hardware such as speaker amplifiers plays a crucial role in this regard by allowing a suitable medium of communication in the noisy environment of an emergency care unit in a hospital. It is also essential to provide high-resolution video conferencing so that a patient can communicate with a remote doctor easily.
Data Management for Remote Health Care
Remote healthcare, especially telemedicine care, produces a large amount of sensitive medical information, which must be assembled by using a data management system. This system includes a wireless connection, power management, and USD connection in order to provide a seamless communication platform to save lives.
Hardware components used in Telestroke are becoming more readily available and affordable with time, with the sole exception of CT scanners. This is one primary reason behind this highly beneficial platform’s increasing use and application.
American board certified neurologists at NeuroX offer high-quality neurological and psychological care right at your doorstep. NeuroX also provides a seamless Telestroke platform that has been saving many people’s lives because of its high functionality. Head over to NeuroX right now to know more!