Keith StrangeCivitas News Service
December 18, 2012
Granville Health System (GHS), in partnership with WakeMed Health & Hospitals and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, announced today the launch of its innovative Telestroke program.
The program is a form of telemedicine that provides GHS patients with enhanced in-house stroke care and 24-hour access to WakeMed as well as Wake Forest Baptist’s stroke neurologists.
The implementation of Telestroke allows GHS to be stroke capable. The designation is reserved for hospitals that offer 24-hour access to an acute neurologist, can administer tPA (Alteplase), can offer 24-hour CT availability with in-house technologists, and can guarantee bed availability for any stroke patient.
The collaboration brings together innovative Telestroke equipment and tertiary care from WakeMed, a Joint Commission-certified primary stroke center. Wake Forest Baptist will provide neurology consulting services. Using Telestroke system carts and a two-way live video, audio and image sharing system, consulting stroke neurologists from Wake Forest Baptist can evaluate a GHS patient in real time to diagnose a stroke and determine the best course of action. As another layer of the Telestroke partnership, GHS stroke patients will have streamlined access to WakeMed for advanced and tertiary care as well as post-stroke care.
“A stroke is a serious medical emergency that needs immediate treatment,” said L. Lee Isley, PhD, CEO of Granville Health System. “The faster a patient receives proper treatment, the better the chances for a positive outcome. Telestroke provides on-demand access to stroke experts within minutes of entering our Emergency Department. Granville Health System welcomes WakeMed and Wake Forest Baptist stroke neurologists as part of our stroke care team.”
The introduction of Telestroke is an extension of the long-standing relationship between GHS and WakeMed. The systems worked together to establish the program and Stroke Care designation for the Oxford-based hospital system. WakeMed led education and training efforts on this initiative, working with GHS clinical staff as well as IT staff to ensure the success of the Telestroke technology. WakeMed and GHS also collaborate on other services such as on-call urology coverage and specialized cardiovascular care. They also work in partnership in the areas of ICU and OB.
Granville Health System and WakeMed provide quality care to stroke patients and follow national standards and guidelines that can significantly improve outcomes for stroke patients. The WakeMed stroke team is made up of specially trained physicians, nurses and therapists who are dedicated to the care of stroke patients. WakeMed offers stroke patients from Granville Health System top care, treatment and services including WakeMed’s Mobile Critical Care service for transport, Neurological and Neuro-interventional services, Neuro-intensive care post procedures, a Neurosciences Nursing
Care Unit for recovery, inpatient rehabilitation services, discharge planning assistance as well as additional rehab services from WakeMed Rehabilitation
Hospital if needed.
“We are committed to enhancing health care in the community, and we want to keep Granville County patients close to home whenever possible,” commented Betsy Gaskins-McClaine, vice president, WakeMed Heart & Vascular Services. “The Telestroke system allows GHS doctors, patients and families to interact with top neurologists and reduce treatment time. Stroke patients can remain at GHS if tertiary care is not needed, but it’s comforting for patients, family and staff to know specialized care is available nearby at WakeMed, especially when time is of the essence.”
Wake Forest Baptist’s stroke specialists are stroke neurologists, each of whom has completed additional fellowship training in the care of stroke patients or is board certified in vascular neurology, and make up the largest team of stroke neurologists in the region. The team also includes full-time coverage by two cerebrovascular neurosurgeons who specialize in the full range of stroke and cerebrovascular treatment options including minimally invasive, hybrid and open surgical procedures.
“Rapid diagnosis and treatment is crucial when dealing with acute stroke. Every minute counts, and delays of all types should be minimized,” said Charles Tegeler, M.D., professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and director of the Telestroke Network. “The network gives patients and doctors in other communities, on-demand access to our stroke experts. This saves time, provides access to consultation with stroke experts much more quickly, helping to avoid delays in access to evaluation for potentially life-saving stroke therapies.”
Granville Health System, along with WakeMed and Wake Forest Baptist, is also a member of the North Carolina Stroke Care Collaborative (NCSCC). Hospitals participating in Telestroke are encouraged to participate in this group as it allows for the collection of important outcome data about strokes. Hospitals in the NCSCC are able to measure their performance on an ongoing basis, examining their strengths and opportunities, and identifying ways to improve stroke care in their hospital and their community.