Providence Newberg joins telestroke network

October 15, 2010

24/7 STROKE SPECIALISTS ARRIVE IN NEWBERG VIA THE INTERNET

NEWBERG, Ore. - The technology is in place. The stroke experts are ready. Providence Telestroke Network is up and running between Portland and Providence Newberg Medical Center.

Using two-way video cameras over a secure Internet connection, neurologists with Providence Stroke Center will help diagnose and treat stroke patients as soon as they arrive at the Emergency Department. The Providence neurologist will be able to review patient information, and examine and talk with the patient, family members and the local doctors to determine the best course of treatment.

"Hospitals in Oregon's smaller communities such as Newberg do not have neurologists who can staff the emergency department 24 hours a day," said Bonnie W. Smith, administrator, Providence Brain Institute. "The telestroke network allows the hospital immediate access to Providence neurologists, who are available to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The telestroke network will dramatically improve the treatment and outcome for stroke patients living in smaller or rural communities, said Dr. Nicholas Okon, medical leader, Providence Stroke Center. "Once a patient has a stroke, every second counts. If we can share our expertise in real time to ensure immediate diagnosis and treatment, we may be able to prevent the debilitating effects of a stroke," he said.

The telestroke network is especially important in Oregon. For unknown reasons, residents are at higher risk for stroke mortality than people living in most other states. Oregon has the fifth highest stroke death rate in the country.

Providence Stroke Center is a nationally certified Primary Stroke Center. The Providence stroke team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventionalists, radiologists, nurses and therapists who work to quickly diagnose patients and use the most technically advanced methods to remove clots, repair broken arteries that cause strokes, and restore blood flow to the brain.

Providence Brain Institute and Providence Newberg Medical Center plan to begin treating patients using the telestroke network Friday, July 23. Providence Newberg is the fifth hospital in Oregon to participate in this program.