As a leading cause of death and disability in the United States, stroke impacts the lives of 795,000 individuals annually. Accurate and timely diagnosis is key to helping anyone who experiences the onset of stroke receive the most appropriate drugs and most advanced stroke treatments.
Lee’s Summit Medical Center, part of HCA Midwest Health System—Kansas City’s largest healthcare network and private-sector employer—announces the arrival of a telemedicine robot for its certified stroke center. Lee’s Summit is the first hospital in the community to offer this technology to assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients.
The telemedicine robot allows Lee’s Summit Medical Center board-certified neurologists and physicians on staff at Research Medical Center to provide even quicker consultation and medical collaboration to diagnose and treat acute stroke patients. These include stroke patients who arrive at Lee’s Summit Medical Center’s Emergency Department via ambulance or who are brought by a friend or family member.
Lee’s Summit Medical Center certified stroke center medical director and board certified neurologist Kathryn Hedges, MD, says the robot has several benefits. “This technology will allow stroke patients to be seen by a neurologist more quickly,” she says. “Time saved in a stroke situation is equivalent to brain cells saved, which is always the goal. The robotic technology also gives the neurologist access to patient information and the opportunity to consult with other physicians more quickly in that critical window of time.”
Telemedicine is a rapidly expanding area of healthcare that uses various telecommunication technologies to exchange medical information from one location to another, enabling physicians and medical institutions to treat and consult with physicians and clinicians in other hospitals. Stroke patients at Lee’s Summit Medical Center may avoid transfer to another hospital due to the telemedicine robotic technology.
“The beauty of telemedicine services is that it brings off-site specialty services directly to the patients and physicians who need them at exactly the time when they need them,” says Jackie DeSouza, chief executive officer of Lee’s Summit Medical Center. “Significant research proves that this type of telemedicine robotic technology, which has even been used in the Iraq war to assist field medical crews communicate with physicians in the U.S. to treat wounded soldiers. This can result in more timely care and improved quality of care.”
Using the robotic technology, a 24-hour on-call neurologist can quickly provide evaluation and treatment of stroke patients, helping the physician determine whether or not the patient’s symptoms, history and condition might make that patient a candidate for specialized stroke treatment performed at Lee’s Summit Medical Center. If surgical stroke care is deemed necessary, Lee’s Summit Medical Center transfers patients to Research Medical Center for neurosurgery.
As The Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center, Lee’s Summit Medical Center has the technology to deliver specialized stroke care. The full-service hospital is the recipient of the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines ™ – Stroke – Gold Plus and the American Heart Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll—2011.