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Telemedicine For Stroke

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A new scientific statement says a remote exam using high-quality videoconferencing equipment is as effective as a bedside stroke evaluation.
Physicians must quickly evaluate stroke patients to cinch if they're eligible for time-sensitive treatment such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) that can save brain function and reduce disability. Stroke and brain imaging specialists are often required to perform the evaluation. However, the United States has solitary an principles of four neurologists per 100,000 people, and not all of them specialize in stroke, according to the statement.
Telemedicine, or telestroke, uses interactive videoconferencing via webcams connected to a TV or computer screen, which allows the patient, family and the bedside and distant healthcare providers to observe and hear everyone other in full colour and in factual time.
Telestroke is coupled with teleradiology, which allows remote fresh look of brain images. This technology can broaden the reach of neurologists in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.
"Telemedicine is an able avenue to eliminate disparities in access to acute stroke care, erasing the inequities introduced by geography, wealth or social circumstance," said Lee Schwamm, M.D., lead author of a scientific statement and policy statement on telemedicine, and associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Vise Chairman of Neurology at Massachusetts Popular Hospital.
To be effective, however, there needs to be changes in how telemedicine activities are reimbursed, he said. For that, policy recommendations were released along with the scientific statement. The policy statement recommends:
  • Deploying telestroke systems to supplement resources where around-the-clock local, on-site acute stroke expertise is insufficient.
  • Increasing Medicare reimbursement for telestroke assessment, diagnosis and approval to advantage tPA to mirror the increased upfront costs of implementation.
  • Developing a mechanism for uniform, streamlined credentialing for telestroke providers and uniform national telemedicine licensure by state medical boards.
  • Increasing funding sources for stroke telemedicine programs which could include designating cooperate from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Point of 2009.
Maggie Francis American Heart Association
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