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Care network membership paves way for additional services, resulting in seamless stroke care

A Parrish Medical Center with a Mayo Clinic telestroke robot.

Member: Parrish Medical Center, Titusville, Florida

When someone presents with a possible stroke, any emergency department (ED) physician will confirm that every minute makes a difference in the outcome. From the front desk to the triage team to the doctor, every team member must be attentive to detail and work together.

At Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida, part of the team's protocol also involves a robot.

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Parrish takes advantage of Mayo Clinic telestroke. In 2014, the hospital added a telestroke robot to their emergency department. According to Parrish's Michael T. Williams, D.O., emergency medicine, the hospital's eight ED physicians have come to depend on it.

"Fortunately, we have a great front desk and triage team," he says. "They are very good at seeing the signs of stroke, even the less obvious ones, and are quick to activate our protocols."

Seamless care, delivered quickly

According to Dr. Williams, the team does not hesitate to get Mayo Clinic's team involved, particularly if the patient has presented within the ideal time frame for tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) or intervention benefit — treatments that quickly restore blood flow to the brain. Following a quick assessment, including the gathering of medical history and current medications, the telestroke system is immediately activated.

"As the patient is being taken to the CT scan, I'm already on a call with the Mayo neurologist reviewing symptoms, vital signs, presentation and physical exam information, and the medication list," he says. "By the time the patient comes back from the CT scan, Mayo's neurologist is up to speed with the case and the robot is by the patient's bedside, where the neurologist can see the patient. It's very fast and seamless."

Dr. Williams says images are quickly and securely sent to the Mayo neurologist who reviews them and makes a treatment recommendation.

'As close to perfection as I could imagine'

Some patients are referred to Mayo Clinic's Jacksonville campus for intervention, which is also made easier by Parrish's close working relationship through the care network.

"In every case I've been directly involved in, the telestroke service has been seamless and as close to perfection as I could imagine," he says. "For physicians, it gives us added confidence that we're providing the best care possible for our patients here in Titusville. We love the close collaboration. In fact, we talk to the Mayo team so much that we're pretty much on a first-name basis though we've never actually met (in person). We really have a great rapport, and we trust them."

For many physicians, the best part of care network collaboration and additional services like telestroke is the community benefit. "I'm really impressed with the technology and the service," Dr. Williams says. "Every dealing I've had with Mayo Clinic has been an overwhelming success. I feel lucky to have their team close by to help me care for this community."