Physician stories: Telestroke brings Providence experts into far-away hospital room


Providence Stroke Center's Valerie Mays, R.N., and telestroke medical leader Nicholas Okon, D.O., with the video presence of stroke neurologist Lisa Yanase, M.D.

When it comes to stroke, time is brain. The faster patients can be diagnosed and treated, the better their outcomes. This can be a challenge in small or rural communities where 24-hour access to stroke specialists is rare.

Thanks to novel new technology, neurologists from Providence Stroke Center can now be "in the room" with patients who are hundreds of miles away.

Through a secure two-way videoconferencing system, a Providence Stroke Center neurologist can review patient records and diagnostic results, perform a full examination and consult with local clinicians to help determine the best course of treatment.

"This will dramatically improve the treatment and outcome for stroke patients living in Oregon's rural communities," said Bonnie W. Smith, administrator of Providence Brain and Spine Institute. "Once a patient has a stroke, every second counts. If we can share our expertise in real time to ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatments, we can minimize unnecessary travel time to transfer patients between rural communities and Portland."

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"Telestroke" is a proven method of rapidly triaging stroke patients, and it's especially important in Oregon. For unknown reasons, Oregonians 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.

Now, this technology provides Oregonians a 24-hour portal to Providence Stroke Center, a program focused on improving stroke care for patients with results that are backed by evidence:
  • Stroke patients cared for by neurologists at the time of their emergency have better outcomes.
  • Stroke units that treat a higher volume of patients with clots, hemorrhages and aneurysms have a lower percentage of stroke deaths.
  • An organized, multidisciplinary approach to post-stroke care and rehabilitation reduces death and disability.
Providence Stroke Center's team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventionalists, radiologists, nurses and therapists work together to quickly diagnose patients and administer the latest methods to remove clots, repair broken arteries and rehabilitate stroke patients.

If you would like to support telestroke in your community, call Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation at 503-216-2227.