Alamance Regional has expanded clinical capabilities for stroke and neurological patients with a new high-tech telemedicine service. Physicians in the Emergency Department at Alamance Regional use videoconferencing technology to work with board-certified neurologists to quickly diagnose and treat patients who have stroke or other neurological symptoms. The telemedicine service is being provided by Specialists On Call, a leading telemedicine provider that is accredited by the Joint Commission. Specialists On Call provides this service to more than 200 facilities nationwide.
“This service augments our current neurological services by providing quickly accessible neurology coverage around the clock and is the first step toward the goal of achieving certification as a primary stroke center,” says Preston Hammock, Chief Operating Officer, Alamance Regional. “In stroke cases, time is crucial to helping patients and saving lives.”
If the physician at Alamance Regional suspects a patient is having or has had a stroke, a CT scan is ordered and Specialists on Call is notified. The telecommunications system is brought to the patient’s bedside, where a neurologist is available within 30 minutes of notification to begin the exam by videoconference. The neurologist works with physicians and nurses at Alamance Regional to conduct the exam of the patient, view the CT scan, and also interact with the patient and family members. The neurologist and the physician at Alamance Regional make an assessment to determine whether the patient is a candidate for thrombolytic therapy with t-PA mediation, which can help halt the damage caused by the stroke if administered within three hours of the onset of symptoms.
The new telemedicine system can also be used in the Critical Care Unit for patients with neurological symptoms. In addition, Alamance Regional is working with Specialist On Call to provide psychiatry consultations as needed. This allows rapid access to physicians who specialize in pediatric and adolescent psychiatry.