Providence Telestroke Network Honored For Saving Lives

July 12, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. — Providence Telestroke Network has earned the 2012 Quality Improvement Initiatives Award, one of the top honors given by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

The award recognizes outstanding efforts by volunteers across 10 western states who are helping to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke. Providence Telestroke Network received the award at the AHA/ASA volunteer awards dinner in San Francisco.

Launched in 2010, Providence Telestroke Network was the first of its kind in Oregon. It allows community hospitals instant access to Portland-based stroke neurologists who can diagnose and treat patients using two-way video cameras over a secure Internet connection. Eliminating the travel time to Portland dramatically improves treatment and outcomes for stroke patients living in Oregon’s rural communities. The rapidly-expanding telestroke network currently connects 16 community hospitals to Providence Stroke Center in Portland.

Those recognized for their work as part of Providence Brain and Spine Institute’s telestroke network include Bonnie W. Smith, administrator; Nicholas J. Okon, D.O., medical leader; Mike Schmitt, director of strategic outreach; Susie Fisher, R.N., telestroke regional manager; Valerie Mays, RN, coordinator; Alexandra Lesko, telestroke data and research analyst; Tamela Stuchiner, research analyst; Elizabeth Baraban, epidemiologist; and Nancy Rynex, stroke data registrar.

“Providence Telestroke Network is critical in Oregon, where residents are at a higher risk for stroke mortality than the national average,” said Dr. Okon, a stroke neurologist who helped launch the program. “We are extremely grateful to the volunteers and staff of the AHA/ASA for this award and for their tireless work on behalf of all Oregonians and Americans affected by stroke.”

Providence Telestroke Network also was recognized for its commitment to Get With The Guidelines, the American Heart Association’s hospital-based quality-improvement program that helps health care teams to save lives and reduce costs by following evidence-based recommendations.


Video: Providence Telestroke Network in action
Interactive map of telestroke hospitals