A new study indicates that telemedicine mobile stroke units offer a practical and cost-effective way to treat suspected strokes more quickly than waiting until arrival at the hospital. Most mobile stroke units bring a neurophysician on board, but it’s a time-consuming and costly strategy. In contrast, holding a telemedicine consultation with a specialist before arriving at the emergency department leads to high rates of successful evaluations and shorter waiting times prior to tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) treatment, CT completion, and intravenous thrombolysis.
The research was conducted at the Cleveland Clinic among off-site patients with stroke-like symptoms; the results were published in JAMA Neurology on December 7. One hundred Cleveland residents participated in the mobile stroke program and were evaluated remotely via telemedicine—first by a vascular neurologist, then by a neuroradiologist who examined images taken by mobile computed tomography (CT). These patients’ results were compared to those of the control group: 100 patients with similar symptoms brought to the emergency department by a regular ambulance.
- 99 out of 100 patients were successfully evaluated using telemedicine. One connection failure occurred due to crew error.
- Compared to the control group, the telemedicine mobile stroke patients experienced median savings of 18 minutes on the time from the door to CT completion and 58 minutes on time to tPA treatment.
- Telemedicine mobile stroke units are a feasible way to evaluate and treat suspected stroke patients quickly and cost-effectively.
Of course, mobile stroke units and physicians are only as good as their technology permit; to be truly effective, the telemedicine platform must not be vulnerable to connection problems or delays. That’s where swyMed shines: its ability to perform reliably in poor network conditions makes it a solid choice for time-sensitive situations such as stroke treatment.
To learn more about how swyMed has already been implemented in ambulances, visit swymedical.swyme.com/ambulance today!