Monday, June 06, 2011
PHOENIX — A stroke telemedicine program between Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) and Mayo Clinic in Arizona will be renewed for another year as a means to evaluate and treat patients in the Valley exhibiting symptoms and signs of stroke.
Mayo Clinic has an established telestroke program that serves as the "hub" for 10 "spoke" centers currently, including one medical center in Missouri, expected to be in network as of July 2011.
The program with MIHS, which began in 2010, has resulted in 13 consultations with Mayo, "allowing us to make the correct diagnosis more often and more quickly, resulting in better patient care," says Bentley Bobrow, M.D., Maricopa Medical Center Emergency Department.
Missouri benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wesley Remington, are credited with providing funding to help sustain the stroke telemedicine program at MIHS, as well as at a rural hospital in Parker, Arizona. The St. Joseph, Mo., businessman, (affectionately known as "Wes" Remington) and his wife, whose names are synonymous with philanthropy, are also providing funds to establish telestroke services in their hometown of St. Joseph at Heartland Regional Medical Center.
Planning for virtual stroke evaluations among medical centers in Arizona began in 2005 by Mayo Clinic and was implemented in 2007. In the early stages, the program used consultations by phone and then advanced to audiovisual methods. Most recently, a mobile stroke robot can visit the bedside of a patient in the emergency room, and the stroke neurologist from a primary stroke center, whose face appears on the robot screen, can examine the patient and consult with emergency room physicians and nurses at the remote center in real-time.
Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., Professor of Neurology, and medical director of Mayo Clinic Telestroke, was the first in the state to head up extensive research studies on the benefits of stroke telemedicine, concluding that the technology is an effective means of bringing timely treatment to patients, with fewer complications and good long-term outcomes.
In the case of stroke, timely treatment often involves administration of clot-busting drugs within the appropriate window of time — a treatment that frequently can result in a full recovery for the patient.
The program connects emergency room physicians at MIHS with Mayo neurologists. Protocols are discussed and implemented when the specialists at both institutions determine the best emergency treatment for the patient that has potential to diminish or avoid long-term damage caused by the stroke.
Betsey Bayless, President and CEO, Maricopa Integrated Health System: "We are very pleased to be able to leverage the experience of Mayo Clinic's stroke-trained neurologists in providing 24/7 state-of-the-art care for neurological emergencies in our MIHS Emergency Department.
Victor Trastek, M.D., CEO, Mayo Clinic in Arizona: "Telestroke programs such as the one between Maricopa Integrated Health System and Mayo Clinic represent the best of the model for health care delivery in the new millennium. The collaboration between Mayo's stroke specialists and emergency room physicians at MIHS provides optimal opportunity to deliver timely stroke evaluation and treatment for patients in Arizona."
Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., Medical Director, Mayo Clinic Telestroke: "Mayo Clinic values its long-standing and excellent relationship with Betsey Bayless, CEO at Maricopa Integrated Health System. We are proud to collaborate with her and her institution on novel clinical, research and education initiatives, on behalf of patients. This gift from the benefactor will help maximize our combined telestroke expertise and bring more stroke services to the Valley."
Bentley Bobrow, M.D., Maricopa Medical Center Emergency Department: "Maricopa County Medical Center Emergency Department is very excited to be able to provide 24/7 state-of-the-art stroke neurology services to our patients in order to maximize their chances for a good outcome after acute stroke."
Maricopa Integrated Health System is headquartered in the heart of Phoenix. The cornerstone of MIHS is Maricopa Medical Center (MMC), a major teaching hospital with a history dating back more than 100 years. Maricopa Integrated Health System is also home to the Arizona Children's Center, two in-patient psychiatric care centers and eleven family health centers located across Maricopa County. MIHS is also home to the nation's second largest burn treatment facility, the Arizona Burn Center.
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Judy Keane, Maricopa Integrated Health System 602-568-7256 www.mihs.org
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