Making Telemedicine Work
Anchor lead: What are the barriers to allowing everyone to access an expert when they have a stroke? Elizabeth Tracey reports
When someone has a stroke due to a clot, access to stroke experts via telemedicine, known as ‘telestroke’ was associated with decreased death and disability, a recent study showed. Mona Bahouth, a telestroke expert at Johns Hopkins, says there are barriers to universal access.
Bahouth: It sounds like a very easy proposition I mean we all have FaceTime or a way to get an audiovisual these days with our loved ones but its actually quite a proposition. You have to have a lot of capability at the center itself to use the technology in the midst of an emergent situation. You have to have a team of stroke experts who are on the ready 24/7 to answer those stroke calls and conduct the telemedicine visit with the patient. Not every hospital can have the financial support to do that especially if they have a lower census of stroke patients. :28
Bahouth says that when people have a choice, choosing a center with first of all the ability to handle comprehensive stroke treatment and management is best. Failing that, employ all options to obtain expert opinions. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.