Oregon telestroke gains recognition

January 06, 2012
The success of Providence Telestroke Network will be the subject of an oral presentation at the 17th annual international meeting of the American Telemedicine Association in April.

Stroke neurologist Nicholas J. Okon, D.O., has been invited to present on “Impact of a Statewide Telestroke Network in Oregon.”

Research has shown that patients who have access to stroke specialists are more likely to receive IV-tPA, a clot-busting drug that has been shown to increase survival, improve functional outcomes and decrease disability.

Given the time-sensitivity of tPA, patients must be treated at their presenting facility. Yet research has shown that many patients presenting to rural facilities do not receive IV-tPA treatment, largely due to lack of access to stroke neurologists. Without access to specialists, patients often require transfer to a stroke center many miles from their home at great cost.

Since implementation of telestroke in April 2010, Providence Stroke Center has: 
      •   Performed 480 consults for patients presenting to rural facilities 
      •   Evaluated 191 patients via remote-presence video technology 
      •   Enabled 45 patients to receive IV-tPA

IV-tPA treatment rates in these remote facilities are now comparable to primary stroke centers (9.6 percent vs. 7.5 percent) and exceed national treatment rates of 2.4 percent.

Conversely, the number of patients requiring transfer out of rural facilities has decreased, thus reducing costs. In the past two years, Providence Telestroke Network has shown that remote-presence partnerships increase access and treatment rates, and contribute to lower costs.