More than eight years ago, Parkland Health Center first launched its stroke telemedicine partnership with Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Physicians. This year, Parkland’s telemedicine equipment has been significantly enhanced and is now available to inpatients and emergency patients in Farmington, as well as ED patients at Bonne Terre.
How does stroke telemedicine work? Using wireless Internet, a Washington University physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital participates in a remote direct-care consult that consists of a two-way audio/video feed. This technology allows the expert and patient to see and hear each other. The stroke specialist can then conduct his or her own neurological exam and interact directly with the patient, family and local medical staff. At the same time, the Washington University stroke expert has immediate access to current vital signs, test results and imaging.
“The video equipment is so precise that the specialist can even look into the pupils of the patient’s eyes,” said Heather Taliaferro, RN, MSN, chief nurse executive at Parkland. “The neurological assessment is made together by the specialist in St. Louis and the nurses and physicians here in Farmington or Bonne Terre.”
In collaboration with the partner hospital, physicians can then diagnose stroke patients and begin timely treatment -- which often includes a decision regarding the need for the clot-busting drug, tPA. “Time is brain,” said Taliaferro. “Getting care locally following the immediate consultation with the specialist enables the patient to receive tPA much faster than waiting until arrival in St. Louis, giving patients better outcomes.”
If follow-up care is needed after the patient receives tPA at Parkland, the patient can be transferred seamlessly to Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH). For example, if surgical intervention is necessary, the patient gets immediate access at BJH. Patients who exhibit stroke symptoms but do NOT need tPA administration also benefit significantly. “If the patient is stable, he or she can be admitted right here at Parkland,” said Taliaferro.
Another enhancement of the partnership is that local stroke patients are now in the Washington University neurology network if needed for follow-up care. “We’re excited to have this telemedicine opportunity here at Parkland,” says Taliaferro.
Parkland Health Center - Farmington is certified as a Level III Stroke Center by the Missouri Dept. of Health and Senior Services Time Critical Diagnosis Unit, and re-certified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. In addition, Parkland was recently certified as a Level III STEMI Center.
Learn more about Parkland's stroke telemedicine program here.
Learn more about the F-A-S-T response to stroke here.