U.S. Grant expands Providence Telestroke Network to eastern Washington

October 22, 2012
Providence Health & Services has been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand telestroke services in the Pacific Northwest. The federal Telehealth Network Grant, a competitive program, funds projects that demonstrate how telemedicine can improve access to health care in underserved communities.

Stroke is of particular concern in rural areas of Oregon and Washington where access to specialists trained in acute stroke care is scarce. The stroke death rate in the Pacific Northwest is significantly higher than in other regions of the United States, despite a lower prevalence of known stroke risk factors.

With the funds, paid over the course of 4 years, Providence Brain and Spine Institute in Portland will partner with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane to expand telestroke into rural eastern Washington. Spokane and Portland will collaborate to build a network similar to Providence Telestroke Network based in Oregon.

The cross-state collaborative effort with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center seeks to:
  • Improve patient safety, health care quality and patient outcomes for acute stroke patients in eastern Washington 
  • Establish a cross-regional clinical registry for examining the impact of telestroke on communities and patient outcomes 
  • Develop a framework for measuring the economic value of telestroke.

Providence Telestroke Network allows community hospitals instant access to Providence Brain and Spine Institute stroke neurologists, who can diagnose stroke and consult with local physicians by using a secure two-way video system. Through the network, Providence currently is improving stroke care in 19 Oregon and southern Washington communities. Results at network hospitals 18 months after implementation show a 13-fold increase in stroke treatment rates and an average 38 percent reduction in transfer rate.