AHA Scientific Statement on Telemedicine Contains Useful Telestroke Guidelines
The American Heart/Stroke Association has released a Scientific Statement on Telemedicine, a set of helpful telestroke guidelines that provide suggestions for technology, process, patient and provider satisfaction – plus other valuable topics. This document was drafted by a panel internationally-recognized stroke experts, two of which are co-founders of REACH Health.
While the AHA Telestroke Guidelines cover a wide variety of topics, one key theme runs throughout the document: an emphatic endorsement for collecting many stroke-related metrics in order to help telestroke achieve equivalence with in-person care and possibly improve stroke care through application of this technology. The authors highlight the value of collecting and analyzing data on stroke quality measures, noting that it “often leads to a steady improvement in the quality of stroke care. “ The collection of stroke data, according to the telestroke guidelines authors, is a responsibility of every hospital in a telestroke network. We couldn’t agree more enthusiastically with the authors; we consistently observe our customers succeed when they take a collaborative approach to stroke diagnosis and treatment.
Our Customers Have Already Validated the Effectiveness of AHA Telestroke Guidelines
We emphatically support the approach articulated by the AHA Scientific Statement on Telemedicine because we have seen our customers leverage clinical data to improve stroke care – and their telemedicine programs. The Scientific Statement makes a strong case for diligent measurement of process and outcomes. Chief among them are: 1) the documentation of all stages of the telestroke assessment process, including exams, labs, images, etc.; 2) and the measurement of how much time is consumed by each stage in this process.
Due to the time sensitivity of stroke treatment, the goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes to initiate the telestroke consult (and of course treat the patient). As stated in the AHA telestroke guidelines document, “a US-based network showed that reducing door-to-consult times reduced door-to-needle times.” Telestroke consult data collected in REACH software at the Medical College of Georgia was used to provide the evidence for this conclusion, a study cited to this day by leaders in stroke care.
REACH Health customers have long collected and analyzed key stroke process and outcomes measures, including specific time intervals identified by the AHA telestroke guidelines, such as: time of consult notification, phone response, video-consult initiation, consult completion, and each critical patient treatment point such as patient arrival, CT scan, diagnosis, decision making, and initiation of intravenous tPA bolus or the decision not to treat. REACH customers pay careful attention to the way time is spent in each stage of the telestroke consult to identify whether there is additional time that could be saved. In many instances, this produces positive results such as workflow optimizations, shorter average door-to-needle times, and increased tPA administration rates. To learn more about how this clinical data can be leveraged for telestroke program enhancement, please read this article about Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
The Advantages of Telemedicine Software
One unique aspect of REACH telemedicine technology is our basis in software, which enables a collaborative telestroke assessment – and documentation of all the critical clinical data. For stroke care, this includes key exams such as the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale and Modified Rankin Score, along with multiple additional stroke-specific and other clinical data. The latest version of REACH software facilitates these collaborative telestroke assessments via our patent-pending REACH Clinical Widget® applications. Learn more about REACH Clinical Widgets.Tags: telestroke